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105337 




Wambali Wi Yuta, "Sign Talking Eagle," Adopted Son of the Sioux, 
Otherwise William Tomkins. 




We Are Preserving the Sign Language to Posterity 
Through the Youth of America. 



UNIVERSAL 

INDIAN SIGN 

OF THE PLAINS INDI&&5 
OF NORTH AMERICA 

TOGETHER WITH 

A SIMPLIFIED METHOD OF STUDY, A LIST OF WORDS IN MOST 

GENERAL USE, A CODIFICATION OF PICTOGRAPHIC 

SYMBOLS OF THE SIOUX AND OJIBWAY 

A DICTIONARY OF SYNONYMS, A HISTORY OF SIGN LANGUAGE, 

CHAPTERS ON SMOKE SIGNALING, USE OF IDIOMS, ETC. 

AND OTHER IMPORTANT CO-RELATED MATTER 

BY 

WILLIAM TOMKINS 

Officially adopted by the Boy Scouts of America, and Sign Language made a Second-Class and First-Cl 
Scout requirement. Endorsed and recommended by the founder of Scouting, Sir Robert Baden Powell, 
Chief Scout of the World, to the Boy Scouts of all nations, 43 countries being interested in Scout- 
ing. Received the unqualified endorsement of the Smithsonian. Institute. Endorsed by 
World Alliance Y. M. C. A. of Geneva, Switzerland; by National Board of Direc- 
tos of the Girl Scouts, Inc.; by the Boy Rangers of America, and by Com- 
missioner Chas. H. Burke, U. S. Indian Bureau, Washington, D. C. 

Adopted by the American Library Association and the American Indian Association. Approved by 

Society Internationale D'Philologie Sciences et Beaux Arts; endorsed by the Pacific Coast Section 

National Camping Directors' Association, and recommended by National Playground and 

Recreation Association and by the Boys' Club Federation. Extensively used by Indian 

Schools and by the Boy Scout Associations of England and Canada. 

French and German Equivalents are Shown with Each Illustration 




PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM TOMKINS 



COPYRIGHT 1926 
COPYRIGHT 1927 
COPYRIGHT 1929 
COPYRIGHT 1931 
COPYRIGHT 1936 
BY WILLIAM TOMKINS 



FIRST EDITION, 1926 
SECOND EDITION, 1927 

THIRD EDITION, 1928 
FOURTH EDITION, 1929 

FIFTH EDITION, 1931 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

BY 
FRYE & SMITH, LTD., SAN DIEGO, CAUJFORNIA 



INTRODUCTORY NOTES 



When a boy, from 1884 to 1894, the author lived on the edge of the Sioux Indian 
Reservation in Dakota Territory, located at Fort Sully, Cheyenne Agency, Pierre, and 
surrounding sections. He worked on the cow range and associated continuously with 
Indians. He learned some of the Sioux language, and made a study of sign. Since 
then, for many years, the interest has continued, and all known authorities on sign have 
been studied, as well as continued investigations with Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapa- 
hoe, and other Indians of recognized sign-talking ability. 

Of later years this effort has been inspired by the fact that there does not exist 
today any publication in print that can readily be obtained, covering exclusively the so- 
called Universal Indian Sign Language of the Plains Indians of North America. 

There is * sentiment connected with the Indian Sign Language that attaches to 
no^ other. It is probably the first American language. It is the first and only American 
universal language. It may be the first universal language produced by any people. 
It is a genuine Indian language of great antiquity. It has a beauty and imagery pos- 
sessed by few, if any, other languages. It is the foremost gesture language that the 
world has ever produced. 

The author has lectured on Indian problems to many audiences, and at all times 
the keenest interest was shown in sign language demonstrations, and he has been re- 
quested, hundreds of times, to make the record permanent, and to thereby preserve and 
perpetuate the original American language which otherwise is fast passing away. This 
is shown by the fact that in 1885 Lewis F. Hadley, at that time a foremost authority 
on sign, claimed that as a result of extensive investigation he had determined that there 
were over 110,000 sign-talking Indians in the United States. Today there is a very 
small percentage of this number, due to the inroads of modern education, and many of 
our Indians, with college and university training, can speak better English than they can 
talk sign. This language was not created by anybody living today. If it belongs to 
anybody it belongs to Americans, and it is for the purpose of having it carried on by 
the youth of the United States that this little' volume is compiled. 

_ Very few works on the Indian Sign Language have ever been published. The first 
of importance was by Major Stephen H. Long in 1823, and gave about 100 signs. It is 
long since out of print. 

In 1880 and 1881 Lieut.-Col. Garrick Mallery, writing for the Bureau of American 
Ethnology of the Smithsonian Institute, produced two valuable works, entitled, "Gesture 
Signs and Signals of the North American Indians," and "Sign Language Among the 
North American Indians." These were partially illustrated and are now out of print. . 

The next, and by far the most authoritative, work on Indian Sign Language was by 
Captain Wm. Philo Clark, U. S. Army. He was with the army in the Indian country 
from 1875 to^lSSO, and made a deep study of sign, with the result that in 1880 he was 
detailed by his commanding general to devote his time exclusively to the production of 
a book on same. He worked steadily on its preparation until 1884, when he died. 
The work was published in 1885, a small edition, and is now out of print and extremely 
difficult to obtain. It was not illustrated. This being America's leading authority 
on Indian sign, and differentiating as to the true Indian and deaf and dumb codes, the 
author has consulted it extensively in checking against his personal knowledge and 
studies extending over many years. 

In 1887. 1890 and 1893, three works on "Primary Gestures," "Sign Talk, 11 and 
"Indian Sign Talk," were produced by Lewis F. Hadley, a missionary in the Indian 
Territory. The latter was the more important, and was produced in an edition of but 
75 copies. Of these but few copies are known to exist. There is one in the Smith- 
sonian Institute, one in the Library of Congress, one in the Metropolitan Library, New 
York, one owned by Ernest Thompson Seton, and one in the library of Prof. J. C. 
Elsom of the University of Wisconsin, and through the kindness of Prof. Elsom the 
author possesses a photostatic copy. Next to the work by Capt. Clark, this is the 
foremost contribution to the study of Indian Sign Language, particularly as it contains 
several hundred graphic illustrations. 

In 1918, Ernest Thompson Seton, the rioted author of animal stories, compiled a 
splendid work, 282 pages and about 1700 signs, profusely illustrated. The work was 
named "Sign Talk", and it does not pretend to adhere to Indian signs but includes many 
desirable signs of the deaf and dumb, and other sources, comprising a very fine work, 
of value to any library. 

Owing to the idiomatic form of the language there are certain fundamental differ- 
ences which must be remembered. Every interrogation is made either wholly or in 
part bv the question sign. Instead of saying "Where are you going?" the signs would 
be, QUESTION, YOU, GOING. Instead of "What do you want?" the signs would 
be- QUESTION, YOU, WANT. The sign for "question" covers the words WHAT, 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



WHERE, WHY and WHEN. It is made to attract attention, to ask, to inquire, to 

examme. M _^^ Indian never used the terms "Good morning," or "Good evening," 
but had his own forms of greeting. The Sioux vocal language uses the term Mow 
Coula?" meaning "How do you do, my friend?" The modern educated Indian uses the 
terms of the white man: so we believe that in this age the use of the terms, Good 
morning" and "Good evening", should not be out of place in talking sign between 
Whites or Indians, particularly as these words exist in sign language and are generally 
understood. 

In sign language it is not customary to ask "What is your name?" because it has 
a different way of asking this question, viz: "What are you called?' the signs for which 
are QUESTION, YOU, CALLED. 

In speaking of the age of a person, or of past or future time, the general custom 
is to say, "So many winters." 

For time of day, make sign for SUN, holding hand toward the point in the heavens 
where the sun is at the time indicated. To specify a certain length of time during the 
day, indicate space on sky over which the sun passes. 

Time is reckoned by the Indians as follows: Days, by nights or sleeps; months, 
by moons; and years, by winters. 

Present time is expressed by Indians by the sign NOW, and also by the sign TO- 
DAY, while occasionally, for emphasis, both signs are used. 

What is understood to be the first person singular, is indicated by pointing to one's- 
self. The plural WE is made by the signs ME and ALL. YOU, ALL, means YE; 
while HE, ALL means THEY. 

Gender is shown by adding the signs MAN or WOMAN. 

Past tense is shown by adding LONG TIME. 

Such words or articles, as A, THE, AN, IT, etc., are not used in sign language. 

The syntax or sentence construction is naturally elemental and simple. 

The verb is not placed as with us, but generally between the subject and the object. 

One very wide difference between the Indian Sign Language and the signs used by 
deaf and dumb, is shown in the word THINK. The originators of the Indian signs 
thought that thinking or understanding was done with the heart, and made the sign 
"drawn from the heart". Deaf mutes place extended fingers of the right hand against 
the forehead, to give the same meaning. 

The deaf use a great deal of facial contortion and grimace. The Indian seldom 
uses facial expression, but maintains a composed and dignified countenance, the signs 
being sufficient of themselves. 

There have been various confusing tribal differences of gesture in regard to TIME, 
present, past and future, and we have therefore recorded the most logical. See TIME, 
LO3STG TIME, AFTER, BEFORE, BEHIND, FUTURE and PAST. For time of day 
make the sign for SUN, holding hand 'at point in sky where sun is supposed to be repre- 
sented. Indians estimate days by SLEEPS, or NIGHTS, months by MOONS, and 
years by WINTERS. In reckoning- the age of a person the custom is to say "so many 
WINTERS."' 

With the passage of time some gestures have changed, as can be readily seen by 
the following. Before the introduction of the coffee-mill among the Indians, coffee 
was represented as a grain, or, more elaborately, by describing the process of preparing 
and drinking the beverage. The little coffee-mill killed off these gestures at once, and 
the motion made, as though turning the crank of the mill to grind the parched berry, 
is today understood as meaning COFFEE by practically all the plains Indians. 

While not generally thought of as such, it is nevertheless a fact, that there is one 
composite group of over twenty million citizens of the United States who use a won- 
derfully comprehensive sign language every day, in fact could not get along without it, 
and, furthermore, they must use it or be guilty of violation of law. I refer to the 
gestures made by the great army of automobile drivers to indicate "Right turn," "Left 
turn," "Stop," etc. 

Clark says: "It is very difficult to describe the most simple movements of the hands 
in space ; so that a person who had never seen the movements would, by following the 
descriptions, make the correct motions." 

In order to offset the possibility of mistake in this regard, I have herein illustrated 
practically all of the principal or root signs, in a manner which it is hoped will be clear 
to all. 

On account of the lucid explanation shown in the cuts, it has been found possible 
to make verbal description very brief, thereby preventing the confusion which results 
from lengthy details. 

It should be remembered that this is in large measure a skeleton language, because 
synonyms in general are covered by the basic word. For instance, the word ABAN- 
DONED means DIVORCED; THROWN AWAY, DISPLACED; DESERTED, FOR- 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



SAKEN. The word ABUSE can, according to its connection, mean SCOLD, ILL- 
TREAT, UPBRAID, DEFAME, DETRACT. The word AFRAID can mean SHRINK 
FROM, COWARDLY, SUSPICION, TEMERITY, DREAD, NERVOUS, FEARFUL. 

Some slight liberties in spelling have been taken by the author, in order to simplify 
pronunciation. For instance, the word representing lodge, the conventional tent home, 
correctly speaking should be spelled TIPI: whereas phonetically the pronunciation is 
TEEPEE. We have therefore used the latter spelling. 

Sign language is so faithful to nature and so natural in its expression that it is not 
probable that it will ever die. It has a practical utility, and should not be looked upon 
merely as a repetition of motions to be memorized from a limited list, but as a culti- 
vated art, founded upon principles which can be readily applied by travelers. Sign 
language may be used to advantage at a distance, which the eye can reach but not the 
ear, and still more frequently when silence or secrecy is desired. 

The author's thanks are due to a number of people who have helped him with the 
sign language. One of the first of these was William Fielder, a noted interpreter at 
Cheyenne Agency, Dakota; to Muzza Humpa (Iron Moccasin), and Cawgee Tonka 
(Big Crow), two Sioux living near Fort Sully, Dakota, and in general to many other 
Indians with whom he was acquainted at Cheyenne Agency, Pierre, Fort Pierre, and 
many places on the Sioux Reservation from 1885 to 1894. 

Mr. R. C. Block of San Diego, California, a well-educated Cheyenne Indian and a 
fine sign-talker, has checked my manuscripts and passed favorably upon them. 

In particular I wish to thank Mr. J. L. Clark, a Blackfoot Indian sculptor now 
located at Glacier Park, Montana, and who with great patience and kindness has gone 
over the entire language with me. Mr. Clark has the misfortune to be deaf and dumb, 
and this has developed him greatly as a sign talker. He is America's foremost Indian 
sculptor, and carves bears and other wild animals from blocks of wood, true to life. 

Every author of a work on sign language in the past 100 years has emphasized the 
importance of illustration of same, therefore, realizing this fact, I have given much 
time to an endeavor to secure a capable artist I have been most fortunate in securing 
the services of Mr. A. J. Stover of San Diego, an artist of wide experience and ability, 
and graduate "of the Cleveland Art School. To his earnest devotion to the work much 
credit for the book is due, and he certainly has my best thanks. All of the sketches were 
posed by the author. 

I have held back one thought for conclusion, and it is this: The beauty of Sign 
talk depends upon the manner of making the gestures. Movements should not be 
angular or jerky, but should rather be rounded and sweeping in their rendition. It is 
inspiring, and a thing of beauty, to witness a sign conversation between two capable 
Indian sign talkers. They are living in many parts of our country and should be cul- 
tivated wherever found. 

Every sign in this work is a true Indian sign. Nothing has been borrowed from 
the deaf or from other sources, the compiler having adhered strictly to Indian origins. 
This, of necessity, makes for a briefer book than would otherwise be possible, but a 
conscientious effort has been made to make the book exactly what it purports to be, 
viz: the Indian Sign Language. 

It is the most earnest hope of the author that this little work will so) kindle enthu- 
siasm in the breasts of thousands of boys and girls throughout the world, that the future, 
through this medium will develop millions of young people who will be able to talk 
sign language with as great facility, grace and beauty as it was ever presented by any 
Indian in past time. This is the hope of the founder of Scouting, Sir Robert Baden 
Powell, Chief Scout of the World, who recently wrote to the author as follows : 

THE BOY SCOUTS ASSOCIATION 
25, Buckingham Palace Road, 

LONDON, S. W. L. 
My Dear Mr. Tomkins: . 

Thank you so much for your very kind thought of me and for sending me a copy 
of your Sign Language book. I had already commended it to Scouts in other countries 
in the hope that Scouts all over the world will take up the idea and use it as a com- 
mon medium for bringing them all together in closer comradeship. 

If it helps to bring about greater world friendship and understanding and avoid- 
ance of war your research into the Indian way of communication will have been well 
worth while, and you will have done a great thing for the world. 

I cordially wish you every success and with many thanks and all good wishes, Be- 
lieve me, Yours truly, ROBERT BADEN POWELL. 

This work is dedicated to my wife, Grace M. Tomkins, whose constant interest and 
kindness have made possible and a pleasure the studies and research of years, and jointly 
with her it is dedicated to the youth of the world, in the belief that through the study 
of this subject there may be developed in all countries a multitude of sign talkers as 
fluent, graceful and rapid as our Indians themselves, and, as Sir Robert hopes, to the 
general good of humanity. THE AUTHOR. 



10 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




JH<and 




IT Hand 





ETHand 



2T Hand 



R indicates right hand . L/ indicates lefi_hanot *_ Arrow, sbow.s 




Abandon 
Aufgeben 




Dessus 




Irisulter / 

Beschimpfierj 




7 



Atuse 




Trave-rs 




Across 




Avoir Peur 
Furcbtsam 




Add 



Avancer 



Advance 




Afraid 




Fr. Apres Midi 
>r, Nachmittag 



Descend^e, 



Apres 
MachHer 



After 




Afternoon 





AUve 




Tout 
Alles 




All 



'Pisparu 
>\lles Weg 



All Gone 



FRENCH AND GERMAN EQUIVALENTS ARE SHOWN WITH EACH 

ILLUSTRATION 

Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 11 



A 



ABANDON (meaning: throw away). With both closed hands held at left side near 
breast, drop them downwards and to rear, at same time opening them as though 
expelling some article. 

ABOARD (meaning; sitting down on). Hold left hand flat, ten inches from body, 
palm up. Place right fist on left palm, with little finger down. 

ABOVE (meaning one thing above another). Both hands backs up in front of body, 

the right resting on the left. Then raise the right more or less above the left. 
ABSENT. Make signs for SIT and NO. 

ABUSE (meaning: throwing lies against one). Bring right 2 hand in front of mouth; 

move the hand sharply outwards or towards person indicated; repeat. 
ACCOMPANY. See WITH. 
ACCOST. Make the sign for QUESTION. 

ACCOST (meaning: to question). When party is at some distance hold right hand 
well up and wave to right and left two or. three times. 

ACHE (meaning: the darting sensations of pain). Push the right index finger ove* 
and parallel to the part afflicted; then make the sign for SICK. 

ACROSS. The flat left hand, with back up, is held about twelve inches out from body. 
Then pass the partially compressed right hand over left on a curve. 

ADD. Place right flat hand on palm of left in front of body, and lift them upwards 
several times in moves of about 3 inches, to indicate piling up. 

ADVANCE. Point right flat hand forward, palm down, ten inches from body. Bring 

left hand in same position but between right hand and body. Then move both 

hands forward in slight jerks. 
ADVANCE GUARD (The person in front). Left flat hand ten inches from center of 

body. Right 1 hand in front of left pointing upwards, then change to 2 hand, and 

move around to indicate LOOKING. 
AFRAID (meaning: shrinks back from). Bring both 1 hands well out in front of 

breast; bring hands back a few inches and slightly downwards, while curving index 

fingers. Usually only right hand is used in making this sign. 

AFRAID OF NO ONE. Point right index in several directions; then make signs for 

AFRAID and NO. 
AFTER, (or FUTURE TIME.) Make sign for TIME, then advance the right 1 hand 

past and beyond the left hand. 
AFTERNOON. Form an incomplete circle with thumb and index of right hand. Then 

raise toward a point directly overhead, and sweep down towards the horizon. 

AGE. Indicate by showing number of winters. (See WINTER.) 

AGENT (meaning: Indian Agent). Make signs for WHITE MAN, CHIEF, GIVE, 
and FOOD. 

AGREEMENT. See TREATY. 

AHEAD. Make the sign for BEFORE. 

AID. Make signs for WORK and WITH. 

AIM (meaning: "From the manner of using weapon"). If with rifle aim accordingly; if 
with bow and arrow bring hands up before breast with motion of drawing bow 
string. 

AIRPLANE. Extend both arms straight out to each side, sway body imitating mo- 
tion of plane; then swing hand in a curve from waist towards the sky. Then sign 
BIRD and EQUAL (a flexible modern sign, understood by Indians). 

ALIGHT (to). Indicate whether from horse, wagon, etc. Then sweep 2 hand towards 

the ground. 

ALIKE (meaning: that 2 people look alike). Make the signs for FACE and SAME. 
ALIVE (meaning: walking about). Bring right 1 hand 10 inches from breast, then by 

wrist action make 3 zigzags. 
ALL. Move right flat hand in horizontal circle from right to left, breast high. 

ALL GONE. Point both extended hands at each other in front of breast. Then loosely 
wipe ends of fingers of right hand across palm and fingers of left, and vice versa. 

ALLIANCE. Make sign for PEACE, and if for war purposes add signs GOING, WAR, 
WITH. 

ALL RIGHT. Make sign for ALL and sign for GOOD. 



12 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Alone 




Parmi 
Davurjter 



Among* 




En Colere 
Bose 



Angry 




Un Autre 
Ein anderes 





Arise 



Arrestation 
Verhaften 



Arre-sf 



Arriver id 
Piier a-nkamme-n/ 





Arrive Here 



Arriver la 



. 

Arrive There 




Arrow 




AufsteigiBn 






Ascend 



Honteux 




Stonne 
Erstaunen 







A Cheval 
Saitel 



Astride 



Eviter 
Vermeiden 



Avoid 



Poi'ncon 



Aale 



Awl 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 13 

ALONE. Hold right 1 hand upwards in front of neck. Then move outwards in sin- 
uous motion. 

ALWAYS. Make the sign for FOREVER. 
AMBITIOUS. Make sign for the person and sign for PUSH. 
AMONG. Bring extended left 5 hand ten inches from breast, then weave right index 

through fingers of left. 
ANCESTORS. Most Indians usually make sign for OLD PEOPLE. Some add LONG 

TIME. 

AND. Make the sign for WITH. 
ANGRY (meaning: mind twisted). Place closed right hand close to forehead, with 

back of thumb touching same; move hand slightly outwards and by wrist action 

give small twisting motion. 
ANNIHILATE. See EXTERMINATE. 
ANNOY (meaning: fluttering heart). Make the sign for HEART. Then flutter the 5 

hand over the heart. 

ANNUITIES. Make the sign for BLANKET, for FOOD and for DISTRIBUTE. 
ANOTHER. Place compressed right hand over left breast, sweep hand upwards, out- 
wards to right and downwards ending with back down. 
ANTELOPE (meaning: pronged horns of animals). Hold both 4 hands beside head, 

palms forward. 
APACHE Indian (meaning: Elk horn fiddlers). Make the sign for Indian, then with 

right index rub the left index from end of finger to wrist and back again 2 or 3 

times. 
APPAREL. Pass both 4 hands over such position of body as is necessary to explain 

the clothing. 

ARAPAHOE Indian (meaning: MOTHER of all Tribes). First make sign for In- 
dian, then with compressed right hand tap left breast two or three times, which is 

the MOTHER sign. 
ARISE (meaning: to get up). Right 1 hand with back down,^ pointed to front, raise 

mostly by wrist action until back is outwards and index points upwards. 
'ARRANGE. Make signs for WORK and FIX. 
ARREST (meaning: to seize hold of and tie at wrist). With both hands in front of body 

make as though seizing hold of a person. Then cross the wrists, hands closed. 
ARRIVE HERE. Place flat left hand against left breast with back out. Hold right 

1 hand one foot from body, then bring same briskly against back of left. 
ARRIVE THERE. This is the reverse of previous sign. The left flat hand is held 

out in front; the right 1 hand held against breast, strikes out to palm of left. 
ARROW (meaning: drawing an arrow from left hand). Near left breast, hold left cupped 

hand, then indicate drawing an arrow from same. 
ARTILLERYMAN. Make sign for WHITE MAN, for SOLDIER, for WITH, and 

for CANNON. 
ASCEND. Indicate in what way and what was ascended; for instance, a mountain, 

sign same with left hand, place right 1 hand with index on left wrist and gradually 

move same upward. 
ASHAMED (meaning: drawing blanket over face). Both flat hands opposite either 

cheek, backs outward. Cross right hand to left and left hand to right. 
ASTONISH. Palm of left hand held over mouth. Many Indians also raise right hand. 

This gesture denotes great surprise, great pleasure, or great disappointment. 
ASTRAY. Make the sign for HIDE. 
ASTRIDE. Separate first and second fingers of right hand and set them astride of 

upright flat left hand. 
ATTACK. Make sign for CHARGE. 
ATTEMPT. Make the signs for WORK and PUSH. 
ATTENTION. See QUESTION. 

AUNT. Make signs for FATHER and SISTER, or MOTHER and SISTER. 
AUTOMOBILE. Make the sign for WAGON and then imitate holding steering 

wheel. (Another modern sign understood by Indians.) A Cheyenne Indian used 

the signs WAGON, BY ITSELF, GO. 
AUTUMN (meaning: falling leaf time). Make sign for TREE, for LEAF. Then let 

right hand pass slowly downwards to right with wavy motion. 
AVOID. Hold 1 hands in front of shoulders pointing^ upwards. Pass right hand to left 

and left hand to right and have them miss in passing. 
AWL. From manner of using same in sewing with sinew. Use right index as an awl 

and bore over left index. 



14 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Axe 



Bebe 
Kleines Kind 




Bdby 




Bacori 



'Mauvais 
Schlechf 




Bad 







\ N 

\V'V 



w^ 



Timide 
Schuchtern 





^ 

iiiiL 



\ L 



V- 



Ours 
Bar 



Bear 



Bar-be 
Bart 



Beard 



Casio r 
Bieber 



Beaver 






Bed 



Avant 
Varher* 



Before 



Dessous 



Belo-w 



A Cote 
Ausser 



Parier 




Beside 




Au dela 
Dar-iiber 



Bet 




Beyond. 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 15 

AXE. Hold right elbow with left hand, extend right arm with hand held flat, and 
make as though chopping. 



B 



BABY. Place right closed hand across left wrist, palm side up, in position of hold- 
ing a baby. 

BACHELOR. Make the signs for MAN, MARRY and NO. 

BACON. Bring extended left hand in front of breast pointing outwards; with right 
thumb and index clasp base of little finger and rub towards wrist and back again 2 
or 3 times; then make the sign for EAT. 

BAD (meaning: thrown away). Hold right fist near breast Throw it out and down to 

right, and while doing so open the hand. 
BAG. Hold left hand in form of opening of bag; then pass compressed right hand 

into opening. Finish by indicating sides of bag. Demonstrate a large bag by inside 

of circled arm. 
BALD. Make the sign for HAIR. Touch top of head with fiat hand. Then make sign 

WIPED OUT. 

BARRACKS. Make the signs for WHITE SOLDIER and HOUSE. 
BASHFUL. Make sign for ASHAMED. 
BASIN (meaning: depression in the ground). With both 4 hands form a partial circle, 

then left hand holds position while compressed right hand scoops the ground. 
BASKET. Make sign for KETTLE. Then interlock fingers to denote manner of con- 
struction. 
BATTLE. Make sign for FIGHT, then sign for SHOOT, with both hands pointing 

towards each other. 
BATTLESHIP. Make sign for BOAT, for FIRE, for BIG, and for BIG GUNS. (A 

flexible modern sign understood by Indians.) 
BAY. (Water). Make sign for WATER, then with right 4 hand out in front of body 

indicate form or shape of bay. 
BAYONET. Make sign for GUN. Then place both 1 hands alongside one another, 

right index projecting beyond. 
BE. Make the sign for SIT. 
BEAR. The Crows and some other tribes hold partly closed hands alongside of head 

to indicate large ears Others add to this a clawing motion with hands in front 

clawing downwards. 
BEARD. For chin whiskers hang compressed hand below chin for other kinds of 

whiskers place hands accordingly. 
BEAUTIFUL. The preference seems to be to pass right flat hand downwards over 

face, then make sign for GOOD some tribes hold up left hand and look into it 

as into a mirror. 
BEAVER (meaning: tail of beaver striking mud or water). Hold left flat hand in front 

of body, right flat hand below same, then back of right hand strikes up against 

left palm sharply. 
BED (meaning: spread blankets). Left hand, palm up, fingers extended pointing right 

front, close to left breast, right hand palm up, on same plane and close to left 

move right hand well out in front and to right as though spreading blanket; add 

sign for SLEEP. 
BEFORE, (or PAST TIME.) Point right and left 1 hands, to left, tandem, in position 

of TIME, then draw right hand towards the right and rear. 
BEGIN. Make the sign for PUSH. 
BEHIND. (Sense of time.) Make the sign for BEFORE, showing length of time by 

space between the hands. 
BELOW. Both hands backs up in front of body, the left resting on the right; then 

drop the right more or less below the left to indicate desired distance. 
BELT. Use the hands as though clasping on a belt 
BESIDE or BY. Make sign for WITH. 
BET (meaning: to gamble). Inasmuch as the betting assumes card playing, the sign is 

made as though placing 2 stacks of money or chips. 

BEYOND. Bring extended left hand, back up in front of body about ten inches, fin- 
gers pointing to right; bring extended right hand, back up, between left and body, 

same height, fingers pointing to left; swing the right hand outwards and upwards 

in curve beyond left hand, turning right hand back down in movement 



16 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Gros 
Gross 



Big 




Oiseau 
Vogel 



Bird 




Couverture 
Decke 



Blanket: 



Vbus bendir 
5ei Gesegtiet 




Sang" 
Blttt 



Bless You 





Blood 



Bateau 
Boot 



Chapcau. 
Haube 






Bonnet 



Ltvre 
Buch 



Book 



Arc 
Bogein 



Bol 
Schiissel 



Gar con 
Knabe 




Bowl 





Brave 





Casser 
Brechcn 



Bre<ak 



Pont 
Bruk 



Bridge 



Apportcr 
Bringen 



Bring 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 17 

BIBLE. Make the signs for BOOK, MEDICINE, and GREAT. 

BICYCLE. A modern sign, like WAGON but with index fingers tandem, then add 

MAN, ABOARD, GO. Indians vary modern signs. 
BIG. Bring compressed 5 hands in front of body, close together, palms in, fingers 

extended flat, upright, pointing to front, separate the hands bringing them apart, 

but keeping them opposite each other. 
BIRD (meaning: wings). With flat hands at shoulders, imitate motion of wings. Small 

birds rapidly, large birds slowly. 
BITTER. Touch the tongue with tip of index of right hand and make the sign for 

BAD. 
BLACK. The method most used by Indians is to point to something black. Have 

seen Indians simply use sign for COLOR as indicating BLACK; others make the 

sign for COLOR and touch hair or eyebrows. 

BLACKFEET Indians. Make sign for MOCCASIN and for BLACK. 
BLANKET (meaning: wrapping about shoulders). Hold the closed hands at height of 

shoulders near neck, move^ the right hand to left, left to right, closing movement 

when wrists are crossed, right hand nearest body. 
BLESS YOU. Raise both hands, palm outward, hands pointing front and upward, 

lower hands several inches, then push them slightly towards person. 
BLIND. Place palmar surface of ends of fingers against closed eyes, then sign LOOK 

and NO. 
BLOOD. Bring right hand in front of mouth, first and second fingers against nostrils, 

move hand downwards with tremulous motion. 
BLUE. Make the sign for COLOR, then point to something blue in color, preferably 

the sky when clear. 

BLUFF. Make the sign for MOUNTAIN, raising or lowering fist to indicate height. 
BOAT. Hollowed hands held together indicate shape of boat, push out in front to 

show direction; for canoe make as though paddling; for row boat as though row- 
ing; for steamboat add sign for FIRE. 

BOIL (to). Make sign for WATER or FOOD; then sign for KETTLE and FIRE. 
BONE. Make sign for the animal for DIE, LONG TIME. Touch part of body that 

produced bone, then point to something WHITE. 
BONNET (war). Carry extended hands from front to rear alongside of head, then 

carry right hand from crown of head down to below body. 
BOOK. Hold both hands in front of body, side by side, palms up, and look at them 

as if reading. Have seen Indians place palms together and open hands as though 

opening a book. 
BORROW. Make the sign for GIVE (to you or to me) then BY and BY or little 

while, and then GIVE meaning, "Give to me a little while and I will give it back." 

They have no such word as loan. 
BOW (meaning: bending bow to shoot). Left closed hand well out in front of body as 

though holding bow. Right closed hand held just back of same draws the bow 

string. 

BOWL. Indicate shape with curved hands, held close together. 
BOY. Make the sign for WHITE MAN or INDIAN, as the case may be, then bring 

right hand down on right side to height of boy, index finger pointing up. 
BRAIN. Touch forehead with first 2 fingers of right hand. 
BRAND. With index and thumb of right hand, form partial circle, other fingers closed 

then press hand against left shoulder for shoulder brand, or against hip for hip 

brand. 
BRAVE. Hold left fist 8 inches from center of body, bring right fist six inches above 

and a little in front of same. Strike downwards with right fist, by elbow action, 

second joints of right hand passing close to knuckles of left. Some Indians make 

the signs HEART and STRONG. 
BREAD. Make sign for FLOUR. Then clap hands together as though making a cake, 

right hand on top; then reverse and repeat, left hand on top. The Indian method 

of making small fried bread. 
BREAK (meaning: breaking a stick held horizontally in the closed hands). Hold closed 

hands together, backs up, then twist right to right, left to left, as though breaking 

a stick. 

BREAKFAST. See EAT. 
BRIDGE. Both flat hands, backs down, pointing to front, then make sign for RIVER 

and sign for ACROSS. 
BRING. Move the right 1 hand well in front of body, index extended, then draw hand 

towards body, while curving index finger. 
BROAD. Make the sign for BIG. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Frere 
Bruder 



Brother 



Beau.. Frere 
Schwagfer 




Brother in Law 




Buff IB 
Duffel 



Buffalo 





1 heu.re 

ALlwahlich By and By 



>^:r 

Parlui .-me me ' 

Nur das By Itself 







Appel 
Rufen 



Call 





lllhX^- 



Camp 
Lag'er 




Camp 



Camp cont.d 



Boug'ie 
Kerze 



Candle 




Pas pi 
Kann nich't 



Cannot- 



Gorgfe 
ScbLucht 





Canyon 



Car ires 
Karten 



Cards 






Cartouche 
Patrons 



Cartridge 



Porter 
Trag-erj 



Carry 



Chair 
Katze 



Cat 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 19 

BROTHER. Bring tips of extended and touching first and second fingers of right 
hand against lips, fingers horizontal, back up, carry hand straight out from mouth, 
then make sign for MAN. 

BROTHER-IN-LAW. Cross arms on breasts, left arm inside, hands extended, then 
strike downwards in front with right hand. 

BROOK. Make the signs for RIVER and SMALL. 

BROWN. Make the sign for COLOR, then point to something BROWN. 

BRUSH. Hold the hands as for GRASS, but with arms extended outward from the 
waist. 

BUFFALO (meaning: horns of buffalo). Bring partly closed hands, palms inward, close 
to sides of head. Raise hands slightly until wrists are on edges of head, and carry 
slightly forward. 

BUFFALO ROBE. Make sign for BUFFALO and for BLANKET. 

BURN. Make the sign for FIRE. Then indicate what was burned or injured by the 
fire. If entirely consumed add WIPED OUT. 

BURY. Make the signs for BLANKET, WRAP and DIG. 

BUT. Make the sign for PERHAPS. 

BUY. Make sign for MONEY and for EXCHANGE. 

BY AND BY. Make the sign for FUTURE, advancing the right hand past and beyond 
the left hand. Some Indians make the sign for "WAIT. 

BY ITSELF. Hold extended right hand in front of right breast, with back down and 
fingers pointing to front; by wrist action strike the hand to left and towards body 
with a jerk, repeating two or three times. This is a metaphoric idiom used with 
other gestures. A gift with this sign becomes a "free gift." No gift expected in re- 
turn. It also means FREEDOM, ALONE and SOLITARY. 



CACHE. Make the sign for HIDE. 

CALL OR CALLED. This is an important and much used sign. Use right hand with 

thumb touching index. Then snap out index finger as in word talk, but continue 

extending index. This is used for "Question you called" meaning, "what are you 

called" or "what is your name." 
CAMP. Make the sign for TEEPEE. Then with arms held about horizontal in front of 

body form with thumbs and indexes an incomplete circle, tips 1 inch apart. Lower 

the hands briskly few inches by elbow action. 
CAMPFIRE. Make as though gathering something. Then make the signs for WOOD, 

FIRE, SIT and TALK. 
CANDID. Make the sign for TRUE, for DAY and GOOD, indicating openness and 

clearness like the day, truth and goodness. 
CANDLE. Hold left 1 hand in front of left shoulder, index pointing upwards. Make 

sign for FIRE with right hand pointed at left index and show length of candle on 

left arm. 
CANDY. Make sign for SUGAR. Then hold left index vertically in front of body and 

with right index indicate stripes on same. 

CANNON (meaning: large gun). Make sign for GUN and for LARGE. 
CANNOT (meaning: cannot go through, or bounced back). Hold left flat hand edgewise, 

well out in front of body. Point right index at center of left, then move right index 

forward until it strikes left palm, then bounces off and down to right. 
CANOE. Make sign for BOAT, then with curved right hand held well out in front 

of body, indicate the curved bow of canoe. 
CANYON (also GORGE, DEFILE, CHASM, GAP) (meaning: mountain, both sides). 

Hold both closed hands in front of face several inches apart, then, still holding 

left hand in position, make as though to pass the right hand through the chasm. 
CARDS. In nearly closed left hand make as though holding a deck of cards, then with 

right hand indicate dealing same to several players. 
CARTRIDGE. Hold right 1 hand back nearly up, in front of body, index extended 

horizontally and pointing to front, thumb pressing against side of index, with tip 

just back of second joint indicating cartridge. Sometimes signs for GUN and 

SHOOT are also made. 
CARRY. Place thumb side of right fist against right shoulder, then thumb side of 

left fist against right fist in other words tandem stoop slightly forward as though 

carrying a heavy bag or pack. 
CAT (meaning: flat nose). With right thumb and index touching nose, tilt same slightly 

upwards, also indicate size of animal. 
CATCH. Make the sign for TAKE. 
CATTLE (meaning: spotted buffalo). Make signs for BUFFALO and SPOTTED. 



20 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Centre 
Mittc 



Cenirre 




Chargfe 




Cheyenne 

Cheyenne CJneyenne 




7? 

Chef 
Kaiiptling 



Chief 





'Hacken 



Chop 



Ferine' 
Nahe 






^-crx 



Nuage 
Wofke 



Cloud 



Habit 
Rock 



Coat- 



Kaffee 



Coffee 



Porrrmele 
&escheckb 






Proid 
Kalt 



Cold 



Coleur 
Rabre 



Color 



Color 
Spotted,JMbtHed,Brind!eBbdn 




\ \ 





ps>\ -\ ,'^*&z 



Venir 
Komm 



Come 



Mais 
Mais 



Corn 



Corral 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 21 

CAVALRYMAN. Make signs for WHITE MAN, SOLDIER and RIDE. 
CENTRE. Make horizontal circle with index fingers and thumbs. Then holding left 

in same position place point of right index in circle just formed. 
CERTAIN. Make the signs for I, KNOW and GOOD. 
CHARGE (meaning: to charge against others). With backs up place closed hands 

near right shoulder, move hands sharply to front and left, at same time snapping 

them open. 
CHARGE (meaning: charging against us). Reverse the above by holding fists well out 

in front and snapping hands open towards face. 
CHEAT. Make signs for LYING and STEALING. 
CHEYENNE Indian (meaning: finger choppers). Make sign for INDIAN, then 

extend left index and with right index make as though to cut or slash same. A sign 

of mourning. 
CHICKEN. Make sign for BIRD, sign for RED. Then place extended right hand 

on top of head, indicating comb. 
CHIEF (meaning: elevated, rising above others and looking down at them). Hold right 

1 hand at side pointing upwards, raise hand in gradual circle as high as top of 

head, then arch toward front and downward. 
CHILD. Make the sign for MALE or FEMALE. Then hold compressed right hand 

upward at right side and drop to the height of the child. 
CHIPPEWA Indian. Make the signs for TREES and PEOPLE. 
CHOP. Bring right flat hand near right breast, then by elbow action strike downwards 

to left, then reverse to left breast and strike downwards to right 
CHURCH. Make signs for GOD and HOUSE. 
CIGAR. Make sign for TOBACCO. Then lay both indexes horizontally alongside of 

each and rotate one around the other (meaning: it's rolled). 
CIGARETTE. Same as CIGAR but add LITTLE. 
CITY. Make the sign for HOUSE and for MANY. 
CLOSE (meaning: draw near). Slightly curved right hand well out in front of right 

shoulder, draw hand downwards and in towards body, holding hand flat and up- 
right. 
CLOUD. Hold extended hands horizontally, backs up, in front and higher than head, 

indexes touching; swing hands downwards in curve to each side, to signify dome 

COAL. Make signs for HARD, FIRE, and GOOD. 

COAT. Place spread hands on breasts then carry them down as though over garment. 

COFFEE (meaning: grinding coffee in mill). Extend left hand, back down, in front of 

body; bring closed right hand few inches over left and move in small horizontal 

circle, as though turning a crank. 
COLD. Both closed hands close to front of body, height of shoulder, body slightly 

bent. Give tremulous motion to hands and arms as though shivering from cold. 
COLOR. Rub tips of right hand fingers in circle on back of left. Do not confuse this 

with the sign for Indian which is made by rubbing back of left hand with flat 

palmar surfaces of all the right hand fingers. A popular sign with all Indians when 

designating a color, is to look around, locate the color desired, and point to it. 
COLOR (2) (spotted, mottled, brindle, roan). Rub the backs of the hands together. 

This represents any spotted or off color. 
CONSIDER. See PERHAPS. 
COMANCHE Indian (meaning: snake). m Make the sign for INDIAN and for SNAKE, 

pushing right 1 hand outwards with sinuous motion. 
COME. Extend right 1 hand then sweep same toward face. 
COMMENCE. Make the sign for PUSH. 
COMPASS. Points of the compass are shown by the way an Indian records the sun. 

Thumb and index of right hand held across at left side indicates the sun rising in 

the east. In this manner the right side would indicate west, straight ahead would 

indicate south, and conversely would be north. A somewhat modern conception 

given by a leading Sioux authority. 
CONCEAL. Make sign for HIDE. 
CONGRESS. Make sign for BIG WHITE CHIEF'S HOUSE. Sign for BRING, from 

several directions, and sign for SITTING IN COUNCIL. 
COOK. Make sign for MAKE (or WORK) and EAT (or FOOD). 
CORN (meaning: shelling the corn). Project left index and thumb as though they were 

an ear of corn, then twist them with right index and thumb. 
CORRAL. Make sign for TREE, lock fingers of right and left hands, then indicate 

circular enclosure by bringing them separately left and right in semi-circle. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Conseil 
Beratung 




Council 




Fou 
Verriickt 



Crazy 




Corbeau 
Krahe 



Crow 





Crier 
Weinen 



Cry 



Bouture 



Zerschneiden Cutting Up 




Dance 






-Aube 

Tagesanbruch Day Break 



Sourd 
Taub 



Deaf 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 23 

COUNCIL (meaning: sitting in a circle and talking). Closed hands well out in front of 
body, little fingers touching, move hands in horizontal circle towards body to meet 
with backs to body then add TALK to right and left. 

COUNTING. The system of tens is universally used by our Indians in enumeration. 
In counting from one to ten, the usual way is to hold the closed right hand in 
front, the back towards and about height of shoulder, edges of hand pointing up; 
for one, the little finger is extended; two, the third; three, second; four, index; five, 
thumb; keeping fingers extended, separated, and pointing upwards; six, bring the 
closed left hand at same height, equally advanced, and near right, and extend the 
thumb; seven, extend left index; eight, second finger; nine, third finger; ten, little 
finger. 

For twenty, open and close both hands twice. 

Many tribes indicate a number of tens by first making the sign for ten, then hold 
extended left hand horizontally in front of body, and draw the tip of extended right 
index from base over the back of each finger to its tip, each motion of this kind 
representing ten and going as far as fifty; then holding the right hand in similar 
manner, mark the backs of its thumb and fingers with tip of left index to indicate 
from sixty to one hundred. 

For counting hundreds hold up both 5 hands with both thumbs touching, hands 
held near right shoulder; then swing in a circle across to left and downwards. 
A number of hundreds are counted on backs of hands same as in counting tens, 
first indicating that you are now dealing with hundreds. 

COUNTRY. Make signs by pointing to the ground with right 1 hand; then spread 
both hands low to right and left. 

COWARD. Point to or make sign for the person, and then make sign for AFRAID. 

COYOTE. Make sign for WOLF and for SMALL. 

CRAZY (meaning: brain in a whirl). Bring compressed right hand pointing upwards 
close to forehead. Turn the hand so as to make small horizontal circle, turning up- 
wards to left with the sun. (To turn to right would mean MEDICINE). 

CROSS (meaning: sulky). Make the signs HEART and BAD 

CROSS (meaning to cross a stream). Make the sign ACROSS. 

CROW Indian. Two signs have been used in this connection, for that in most general 
use sign BIRD and INDIAN. A less used sign as follows: first make the sign 
for INDIAN, then hold fist above forehead, palm out, to indicate their manner 
of dressing the hair, i. e., pompadour. 

CRY (meaning: tears). With both 1 hands at eyes indicate that tears are flowing by 
tracing their course down the face. 

CUNNING. Make sign for WOLF. 

CUTTING UP. With flat left hand, back upwards, held in front of left breast, use 
right flat hand as though to cut slice off palm of left, and repeat. 



D 



DAKOTA Indians. (See SIOUX.) 
DAM. Make sign for RIVER, and for HOLD. 

DANCE (meaning: hopping action). Place both 5 hands in front of breast, point- 
ing up, palms 6 inches apart; move up and down 3 inches, for 2 or 3 times. 
DANGEROUS. With respect to a person, make the signs HEART and BAD. If of 

a place, specify in what way it is dangerous. 
DARK. Make sign for NIGHT and SAME; or hold extended hands in front of and 

close to eyes. 
DAUGHTER. Make the sign for FEMALE, then with right compressed hand held 

upright indicate the height of girl. 
DAY. Hold level flat hands, backs up, in front of face, and 4 inches apart; sweep 

hands up and out in a curve, ending opposite shoulders with palms up. For 

TODAY, first make sign NOW. 
DAYBREAK. Place both extended hands, backs f out, in same horizontal ^ plane, right 

hand above with little finger touching left index; then raise the right hand a 

few inches. 

DEAD. Make signs for DIE and SLEEP. 
DEAF. Press palm of flat right hand against right ear; then make small circular 

motion with hand close to ear, and sign NO. 

DECEIVE (meaning: he gives the lie). Make sign for GIVE and for LIE. 
DEEP. To show depth of river or water, make sign for RIVER or WATER; then 

point downwards. If depth is slight, place hand on person to show how far the 

water rises on person or horse. 



24 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Cerf 



Deer 



Diffamer; 
Ver learn den 





Defter 
Trotzen 



Defy 






Depart 
Fortgfehen 



Depart 



Mourxr 
Sterben 



Die 




Creuser 
Graben 



Sale 
Schmutz. 





Distribuer 
Verteiteri 



Dirt 



Distant- 
Feme 







Taucben 



Dive 



Chien 
Hund 



Dog 



Fait 
Getan 



Done 




Habit 
Kleid 



Dress 



Boire 
TrinUen 





Drink 



Ternir 
TrCibe 



Dull 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 35 

DEER. Indicate deer horns with both spread 5 hands held above sides of head. 

DEFAME. Make the sign for ABUSE. 

DEFY. Place thumb between index and second finger of right hand; push it sharply 
towards the person. 

DEPART. Make sign for GO. 

DESTROY. Make sign for EXTERMINATE. 

DIE (meaning: going under). Hold the left flat hand, back out, well in front of body, 
fingers horizontal; bring right 1 hand on same plane and pointing to left hand, 
move right hand downwards and outwards. 

DIG. Execute with both hands a pawing motion, moving hands from right front down- 
wards, to left and rear on curve; repeating motion. 

DINNER. See EAT. 

DIRT. Point to ground with right index finger, then reach down and rub thumb and 
tips of fingers together. 

DISGUST. Make the signs for HEART and TIRED. The head is sometimes turned 
to one side, and the idea conveyed by facial expression. 

DISMOUNT. Make sign for HORSE; then raise right 2 hand and lower it, pointing 
fingers at ground. 

DISTANT. Right hand, back to right, in front of right breast, a little lower^ than 
shoulder, hand partly closed and close to body; push the hand to front, raising it 
slightly. Very distant would be shown by extending arm to full length. 

DISTRIBUTE (meaning: handing out). Bring right flat hand, back of same to right, 
well in front and a little to right of body; move hand slightly upwards to front, 
and then a little downwards; then take first position and make similar motion to 
left, as though giving to several persons. 

DIVE. Hold left flat hand, back outwards, well in front of body, fingers pointing to 
right; hold right flat hand, back out, behind and little above left hand, fingers 
pointing downward; then move right hand down and out under left hand. 

DIVORCE. Make the signs for HIS, WOMAN, and ABANDONED. 

DO. Make the sign for WORK. 

DO NOT. Make signs for WORK and NO. 

DOCTOR. Make the signs for WHITE MAN, CHIEF and MEDICINE. 

DOG (meaning: wolf drawing teepee poles). Draw right 2 hand across in front of 
body, from left to right. 

DOLLAR. Make the sign for MONEY, and raise right index finger to indicate one. 

DONE. Make the sign for END. 

DOOR. Make the sign for TEEPEE or for HOUSE; hold left flat hand well in front 
of breast, back outwards and pointing to right; then place flat right hand on palm, 
and turn same over to right, as though little finger was a hinge. 

DOUBT. Make the sign for PERHAPS. 

DOWN. Point downwards with right index finger. 

DREAM. Make signs for SLEEP, and SEE, and GOOD. 

DRESS. Pass the spread thumb and index finger over that part of body represented 

as covered. 
DRINK (meaning: drinking from the curved right hand). With fingers tight together 

partly compress the right hand as though to form a cup; carry to mouth from 

above downwards, as though drinking water. 
DROUTH. Make signs for LONGTIME, RAIN, and NO. 
DROWN. Make the sign for WATER; then sign whether LAKE or RIVER, and 

make sign for DIE. 

DRUM. Place hands in first motion for KETTLE; then with left hand still in posi- 
tion, use partly closed right hand as drum-stick, and strike down several times. 
DRUNKARD. Make sign for WHISKEY and sign for DRINK, repeating four or 

five times, and signs for MUCH and CRAZY. 
DRY. To indicate that stream or spring is dry, make sign for STREAM (LITTLE 

RIVER), for WATER, and for ALL GONE. 
DUCK. Make signs for BIRD and WATER, and gesture with right flat hand for 

flat hill. 
DULL. Hold left flat hand in front of body, back down; then with lower edge of 

flat right hand saw back and forth 3 or 4 times; then make sign for BAD. 
DUMB. Palm of right hand over mouth; then make the signs TALK and NO. 



26 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



Pendant" -d ' oreille 
Olirring* 




Earring 



Manger 
Essen 




Eat 



Assez Manger 
Satt 




Ed-ten Enough* 





Effort 
Bemuhung 



Efforf 



Daim 
ReK 



Elk 



Fin 
Ende 



End 




Eg-aL 



Equal 



'<3t- 



Echapper 
Entfhehen 




^' 



Escape 




Eternellement 



E "ternally 



Exchanger 
Austauschen 



ExpHauer 
Erklaren 





ExterTniner 

trHlg'cn 




or Trade 



Explain 



Exterminate 



Visage 

Gesicht 




Cascade 
Wasserfdll 



Tombcr 
Tallen 



Face 





Fall 

(of water) 



Fall (-to) 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 27 



E 

EAGLE (meaning: wings, and black tips of tail feathers). Make sign for BIRD; 
then hold horizontally the extended left flat hand, back up, in front of left breast, 
fingers pointing to front and right; then lay the lower edge of vertical extended 
right hand, back to right and outwards, fingers pointing to left and front, on back 
of left, on knuckles; move the right hand outwards and to right; then make sign 
for BLACK, representing the black end of the tail feathers. Occasionally the 
sign for TAIL is made. 

EARLY. If early in the morning make signs for DAYBREAK, and LITTLE; if 
early in the evening, make signs for SUNSET, and LITTLE. 

EARRING (meaning: long, narrow pendant). Point extended index fingers down- 
ward, other fingers and thumbs closed, alongside of ears, backs of hands towards 
head; shake hands a trifle, giving a trembling motion to index fingers. 

EARTH. Point with right index to the ground, then reach down and rub thumb and 
tips of fingers together. 

EAT. With nearly compressed right hand, pass tips of fingers in curve downward past 
mouth two or three times by wrist action. 
Add location of sun in the sky to indicate breakfast, dinner or supper. (Modern). 

EATEN ENOUGH (meaning: filled to the throat). Make the sign for EAT; then 
spread index and thumb of right hand close to breast; move the hand upwards 
to height of chin. 

EFFORT. Make the sign for PUSH. 

ELK ("meaning: horns). With fingers extended and pointing upwards, place hands 
above head; move them to front and rear two or three times. 

ELOPE. The Indian method of eloping is to STEAL the woman; so the proper 
signs are accordingly made, i.e., STEAL and WOMAN. 

END (meaning: cut off). Hold left flat hand out in front of left breast, thumb up- 
ward; then with right flat hand strike down past finger tips of left hand. 

ENEMY. Make the signs FRIEND and NO. Have seen Indians make the signs 
SHAKE HANDS and NO, though first sign is more general. 

ENLIST. Make the signs for WORK and SOLDIER. 

ENTER (meaning: to enter a TEEPEE, or stooping position in entering a lodge). 
Make sign for HOUSE; then hold compressed left hand well in front of body; 
bring partly compressed right hand downwards and outwards, under left. 

EQUAL (meaning: even race). Hold 1 hands in front of breast, indexes two inches 
apart; move them both to front, keeping tips opposite, indicating an even race 

ESCAPE. With hands closed, cross the wrists; then separate hands quickly by swing- 
ing them to right and left and slightly upwards; then make the sign for GO. 

ETERNALLY. Make the sign for FOREVER. 

EVENING. With extended right hand, make the sign of SUN sinking in the west; 
then signs NIGHT, and LITTLE. 

EXCHANGE or TRADE. Hold up 1 hands; then in semi-circle strike them past each 
other. 

EXPLAIN. Hold extended right hand, back down, in front of, close to, and little 
lower than mouth, fingers pointing to left; by wrist action move hand outwards a 
few inches. To be spoken to or explained to, reverse the action, moving hand to- 
wards face. 

EXTERMINATE (meaning: wiped out). Hold left flat hand in front of body; then 
wipe flat right hand across same. 



FACE. Bring right flat hand down across front of face. 

FAINT. Make the sign for DIE and for RECOVER. 

FALL (Season). Make sign for AUTUMN. 

FALL (of water). Make sign for RIVER; then hold flat hand, back out, in front 

of body; bring right hand, fingers slightly apart, over top of left hand and down 

with wavy motion. 
FALL (to). Right flat hand in front of body, pointing to left, back up; swing hand 

in a curve, upwards and outwards, to right, then downwards while turning hand 

palm up. 
FAME. The highest compliment you can pay an Indian is to say that he is a CHIEF. 

BRAVE; therefore make these signs to express fame. 
FAR. Make the sign for DISTANT. 
FARM. Make the sign for CORN and for WORK. 



28 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Vite 
Schnell 




Pere 
Vater 



FemeUe 
Weiblich 






Few 



Se iattre 
Kampfen 



Fight 




Fire 





.-X 



.'"-? 




Poisson 
Fasoh 



Fish 



Fixer 
Keparieren 



Fix 



Drapeau 
' 



Flag 




Flotter 
Schweien 



Float 



Fleur 
Blame 





Flower 



Friand 
Ztmeig'ung' 



Fond 




Foret 
Wald 




Pour Toujours 
Auf {miner 



Forever 




OuWier 
Ver^essen 



Forgef 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



_ INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 29 

FAST (meaning: pass by). Hold left flat hand in front of body, back to left; then 
hold right flat hand, back to right, six inches to rear of left. Make right hand 
go swiftly past left in a curve very slightly downwards and then upwards. 

FATHER. With compressed right hand gently tap right breast two or three times; 
then make the sign for MALE. 

FATHER-IN-LAW. Make the sign for WIFE or HUSBAND, then FATHER. 

FEAR. Make the sign for AFRAID. 

FEAST. Make sign for WORK, for two or three kettles in a row, for BRING (from 
several directions); first part of sign for COUNCIL, and for EAT. (Repeat this 
latter two or three times). 

FEATHER. For one feather worn as a decoration on the head, make sign for BIRD, 
for TAIL, and place extended index of right hand pointing up at back of head. 

FEMALE (meaning: combing the hair). Place both hands on either side of head, 
fingers hooked; then stroke downwards as though combing the hair. Use of but 
right hand also correct. 

FEW (meaning: compressed). Hold partly closed hands in front of body, palms 
towards each other, lower edges pointing to front, hands opposite, but heel of 
right hand height of index of left, and eight inches apart; move right hand to 
left, left to right until right is over left. 

FIGHT. Bring loose fists, palms toward each other, in front of body, at height of 
shoulders, and three inches apart. Move right hand few inches towards body, 
while left goes outwards same distance; then reverse and repeat. 

FINISHED. Make the sign for END. 

FIRE (meaning: blaze). Carry right arm well down in front of body, fingers par- 
tially closed; raise hand slightly and snap fingers upwards. Repeat. 

FIRE (meaning: discharge of weapon). See SHOOT. 

FISH, Make sign for WATER, then hold flat right hand, back to right, at right of 
body near waist; then move the hand to front sinuously. 

FIX. Hold left flat hand upwards, right flat hand crossing it at right angles; push 
edge of right across left, while left flattens with back up. 

FLAG. Bring right flat hand out in front right shoulder; place fingers of left hand 
on wrist of right, then oscillate or wave right hand several times. 

FLOAT. Indicate the WATER, RIVER, LAKE, etc. Bring extended left hand in 
front of breast, back up; lay right hand on it; then move hands with wavy motion 
to right. 

FLOUR. Hold right hand, back to right, in front of body, and rub tips of fingers 
with tip of thumb; then point to something white and make sign for BREAD. 

FLOWER. Make the sign for GRASS at waistline. Then make circle of thumb and 
index of both hands; then turn outside of hands under, until little fingers touch 
and thumbs and indexes point up. Some add SMELL and GOOD. 

FLY. Make sign for WINGS, as in BIRD. 

FOG. Make sign for WATER; then cross hands, fingers open, in front of eyes. 

FOLLOW. With palms facing, left hand ahead, thrust both hands forward with zigzag 
motion. 

FOND (meaning: pressed to the heart). Cross wrists, a little in front and above the 
heart, right nearest body, hands closed, backs out; press right forearm against 
body and left wrist against right. This expresses regard, liking, fondness, affec- 
tion and love. 

FOOD. Make the sign for EAT. 

FOOL. Make the sign for CRAZY. (For UNWISE, INDISCREET or FOOLISH, 
add sign for LITTLE.) 

FOOTPRINTS. Make sign for WALK and for SEE; fingers pointing to ground. 

FOOTRACE. Make sign for RUN and for EQUAL. If one comes out ahead, move 
one finger to front. 

FOREST. Hold open right and left hands ten inches out in front of shoulders, back 
outward, thumb and fingers spread. Move sightly upward, slowly, to indicate 
growth, then extend right hand to right and front indicating trees extend great dis- 
tance, then add PLENTY. 

FOREVER. Place the open right hand, palm towards right side of head, just clear 
of head; then move it forward and backward twice, past front and rear of head. 
In general use fifty years ago, according to Hadley. 

FORGET (meaning: mental darkness). Almost make sign for NIGHT, by holding left 
hand steady in front and sweeping right hand around to left. 

FORT (meaning: white soldier's house). Make the sign for WHITE, for SOLDIER, 
and for HOUSE. 

FOUND. This is represented by I SAW IT, PICKED IT UP. 



30 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Fragrant 



Fragrant 



Ami 
Freund 




Friend 




GrenauUle 
Frosch 



Frog 






Zukunft 



Fuiure 



Galoper 
GaUoppieren 



Gallop 



Breche 
Kluft 



Gap 






FilLe 
Madchen 



Girl 



Donner 
Geten 



Give 



Gieb Mir 



.^. T, 
Give Me 




; m \i "v V*. 

.~r ^ 1 =^y *&, 

^r f\ ^09 "I - \ v 




Sombre 
Trube 



Gloomy 



Gant 
Hantschuh 



Glove 






AUer 

Behen Go 






Allez. de 1'ava.nt- 

Vorwarhs Gehen ClO Ahead 



Chevre 
Ziege 



Goat 



Bon 



Good 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page, 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 31 



FOX. Show size of animal and large, long tail with white tip. 

FRAGRANT (meaning: smells good). Move the right 2 hand by wrist action upwards 

from chin, nose passing between tips of fingers; then sign GOOD. 
FREEZE. Make the sign for COLD, for WATER, and for HARD. 
FREEZE OVER (meaning: ice closing over a stream). Make sign for COLD and 

for WATER or RIVER; then hold flat hands, backs up, opposite shoulders, 

fingers pointing to front; move hands toward each other until index fingers touch. 

Representing ice formed on surface of water. 
FRIEND (meaning: brothers growing up together). Hold right hand in front of 

neck, palm outwards, index and second fingers extending upwards; raise the hand 

until tips of fingers are high as head. Southern Indians make sign of shaking their 

own hands, which all Indians now understand. 
FROG. Make sign for WATER; then compress right hand near right shoulder and 

make motion of frog jumping. 
FUTURE. (Meaning time in front,) Make the sign for TIME, then advance the 

right hand past and beyond the left hand. 



GALLOP. Make sign for RIDE; then bring hands in front of center of body, hands 
held edgewise, left near the body, right in front of same; move the hands simultan- 
eously up and down several times in vertical curves, to imitate action of horse. 

GAP (meaning: mountain pass). With index and thumb spread, hold left hand out 
in front of breast, in form of gap; then pass right hand edgewise through the gap. 

GENEROUS. Make signs for HEART and BIG. 

GET. Make the sign for POSSESSION. 

GIRL. Make the sign for WOMAN; then bring hand down on right side to indicate 
height; fingers compressed and pointing up. 

GIVE. Hold right flat hand, back to right, pointing to front and upwards, in front of 
body at height of shoulder; move hand out and down. 

GIVE ME. About height of neck, bring right well out in front of body, back of hand 
downwards and slightly to left, lower edge nearest to body, hand flat and point- 
ing upwards; bring hand in towards body and lower slightly. 

GIVE NAME TO. Make the signs for CALL and GIVE. Clark says: "A young 
man, after making his maiden effort on the war path, if he has met with success, 
'sheds' his boyish name, and is given frequently the name by which some of the 
old men of his tribe have always been known." 

GLAD ^meaning: sunshine in the heart). Make sign for HEART; then sign for DAY 
or OPENING UP, and SUNRISE. By carrying hands into position on curves 
as indicated gives grace and beauty to movements. 

GLOOMY (meaning: the clouds are close). Make the sign for CLOUDS; then draw 
them down to near the head. 

GLOVE. Pass the spread thumb and index of right over left hand, meaning any 
covering for the hands. ^ 

GO. Hold flat right hand in front of body, back to right, pointing front and down- 
wards; move hand to front, and by wrist action, raise ringers to front and upwards. 

GO AHEAD. Make the sign for PUSH. 

GOAT (meaning: horns, and whiskers under chin). Bring 1 hands alongside of head, 
pointing upwards, hands held just over ears; then place back of right wrist against 
under side of chin, hand compressed and pointing downward. 

GOD (meaning^ the great mystery). Make signs for MEDICINE and GREAT, and 
point to zenith. 

GOLD. Make the sign for MONEY; then point to something YELLOW in color. 

GONE. Make the signs for GO and LONG TIME. 

GOOD (meaning: level with the heart). Hold the flat right hand, back up, in front 
of and close to left breast, pointing to left; move hand briskly well out to front 
and to right, keeping it in a horizontal plane. 

GOOD EVENING. Make the signs for GOOD, DAY and SUNSET. (The true 
Indian version would be SUNSET, DAY and GOOD.) 

GOOD MORNING. Make the signs for GOOD, DAY and SUNRISE. (To be exact, 
the Indian would say SUNRISE, DAY, and GOOD.) 

GOOSE. Make slow sign for BIRD; then indicate triangular shape taken by flocks 
of geese in their migrations. 

GRANDFATHER. Make the sign for FATHER, and for OLD, by, rotating right 
hand by right ear to indicate that hearing was poor. 

GRANDMOTHER. Make the sign for MOTHER, and for OLD, by rotating right 
hand by right ear to indicate that hearing was poor. 



32 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 





Herbe 
Gras 



Grass 




Grand 
Gross 



Great- 




Grow 





Demi 
Halb 



Half 



Metis 
Misch Blair 



Half Breed 




Hang 






Dur 
Hart 



Hard 



Qiapeau 
Hut 



Hat 



T 4 s 
Ha.ufen 



Heap 




Entendre 
Horen 



Hear 




Hearf 



Lourd 
ScViwer 




Heavy 





^ 



Cacher 

Fell 



Hide 



Haut 
Hoch 



High 



Tenir 
Halten 



Hold 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE _ 33 

GRASS. Hold the hands, back downward?, arms extended downwards to full length, 

in front of body, fingers extended, separated and slightly curved, pointing upwards; 

then swing hands apart. 
GRAVE. Make signs for DIE and BURY. 
GR AY (meaning: white and black). Make the signs for WHITE, LITTLE, BLACK, 

LITTLE, or make sign for COLOR and point to something gray. 
GREAT. With palms toward each other bring extended hands out in front of 

breast; then separate the hands to right and left 
GREAT MYSTERY. Make the signs for MEDICINE and GREAT. 
GREEN. Make the sign for COLOR; then point to the grass if convenient, otherwise 

to something green. 

GRIEVE. Make sign for CRY, and for cutting off hair. 
GROW. Hold right hand, back down, index extended, and pointing upwards, in front 

of body; hand held near the ground; raise hand by gentle jerks. 
GUN. Make as though shooting gun, then add sign for FIRE. For rifle add working 

of lever. 

H 

HAIL. Make the sign for RAIN, for COLD; then indicate size of hailstones with 

curved index and thumb of right hand. 
HAIR. To denote hair of human being, touch hair of head. 

HALF. Hold flat left hand oitf in front of breast with back out; lay lower edge of 
right hand on upper edge of left, resting at knuckle of left index, back to right 
and front, fingers extending, touching; move right hand to right and outwards. 
HALF BREED (meaning: half of body one kind, half of another). Place flat right 
hand upwards, in center of breast, little finger near breast; move hand one foot 
to left, then back and one foot to right. Have seen Sioux make the sign "One- 
half Indian, one-half white man." 

HALT. Hold flat right hand palm outward, in front of body, height of shoulders; 
move hand sharply to front and downwards, stopping it suddenly. Some Indians 
raise the hand higher for emphasis. 

HANDSOME. Make sign for BEAUTIFUL. 

HANG (to) (meaning: as pendant). The left index is extended and held horizontally 
in front of body, other fingers closed, and the right index curved and hooked to it. 

HAPPY. Make the sign for GLAD. 

HARD. Hold out left hand palm, straight up; strike it with right fist two or three 
times. 

HAT. Bring right hand, back outwards, in front close to and a little above head, 
index and thumb spread and nearly horizontal, other fingers closed; lower the 
hand until thumb and index are about opposite the eyes; spread thumb and index, 
passing down close to forehead, index to left, thumb to right. 

HATCHET. Make signs for AXE and SMALL. 

HAVE. Make the sign for POSSESSION. 

HAWK, Make the sign for BIRD; then hold partially compressed right hand a 
little higher and in front of right shoulder; move swiftly to front and down with 
slight curve up, imitating a hawk's dive through the air after its prey. 

HE or HIM. Point right index at person indicated. 

HEADACHE. Make the sign for SICK, by imitating throbbing in front of head. 

HEAP. First indicate gathering in from the sides, then bring hands upwards in 
curve to show the shape. 

HEAR. Hold right cupped hand behind right ear. 

HEART. Bring compressed right hand pointing downwards over heart. 

HEAVEN Point upwards with right index, looking up with reverence. (Modern.) 

HEAVY (meaning: cannot hold up). Hold out flat hands in front of body, palms 
up; raise hands slightly and let them drop a few inches. 

HELP. Make the signs for WORK and WITH. 

HER. Point right index at person indicated. 

HERE. Make sign for SIT. 

HIDE (to). Hold out left flat hand, pointing oblique to right; hold right hand in 
same relative position, pointing at left hand; then pass right down under left. 

HIGH. Hold right flat hand, back up, in front of right shoulder; then raise or lower 
to height desired to be shown. 

HILL. Make the signs for MOUNTAIN and LITTLE. 

HIS or HERS. Point to person and make sign for POSSESSION. 

HOLD. Hold both^ hands, back out, with fingers spread; lay the fingers of one hand 
over the interstices of the other, as if to prevent anything passing through be- 
tween the fingers; move the hands, held in this position, slightly to right and left, 
by elbow and shoulder action. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Trou 
Loch 



Hole 



Honefe 
Ehrltch 




Honest" 




CKeval 
Pferd 



Com 






Maison 
Haus 



House 



Combien 
Wie viele 



How Many 



Faim 
Hungrig 



\ 



.=^V \-U -AL - 
^*U^^\ 

iSj , -^ \ 





Hungry 



Chasser 
Jagen 



Hunt- 



lor Me 



Impossible 
Unmo^hch 




Emprisonner 
Inhafheren 



Impossible 



Imprison 




Vermehren 



^'^ 

<&*> ' .' *- 



jj^j 
^& 



Ihcrea^e 



Indien 
Indianel* 



Inferieur 
Margelhaft 




Indian 




lie 

Insel 




Inferior 



Island. 



i-ine drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 35 



HOLE. Make circle with thumb and index of both hands; then, holding left in posi- 
tion, press compressed right through hole. 

HOMELY. Pass palm of hand over face and make sign for BAD. 

HONEST. Make the sign for TRUE. 

HORSE. Hold left flat hand edgewise, back to left in front of left breast. Some 
Indians to make the sign more emphatic place the right index and second fingers 
astride the left hand. 
The sign used in illustration is most generally used. 

HORSERACE. Make sign for HORSE and for RACE. 

HOSPITAL. Make signs for HOUSE, SICK, and MANY. Some Indians make signs 

for HOUSE and MEDICINE. 
HOT (meaning: rays of sun pressing down). Hold flat hands above head, few inches 

apart; then bring hands down and slightly towards head. 

HOUSE (meaning: corner of log house). With hands in front of body, interlace 
fingers near tips, fingers at right angles, horizontal. This is the primitive sign 
for house, though Cheyennes frequently indicate shape of gable roof with both 
5 hands pointing up. 

HOW MANY. Sign INTERROGATE or QUESTION; point left hand at 45 deg. 
angle to right and front; then with index of right hand strike little finger and 
others in succession. As fingers are struck they remain down. 

HOW MUCH. Expressed by HOW MANY. How much money would be, how 
many dollars? 

HUNDRED. See COUNTING. 

HUNGRY (meaning: cuts one in two). Hold little finger edge of hand against center 
of body; then move to right and left as though cutting in two. 

HUNT. Make sign for WOLF, that is bring 2 hand near eye and move it around. 

HURRY. Make the signs for WORK, and FAST. 

HUSBAND. Make the signs for MALE, and MARRY. 



I 



I (meaning: myself). With right extended thumb touch center of breast. 

ICE. Make signs for WATER, for COLD, and bring hands together as in FREEZE 

OVER. 
ICICLE. Make sign for WATER, for COLD, and hold right index in front of body, 

pointing downward. 
IMPOSSIBLE. Make sign for CANNOT. 

IMPRISON (meaning: seizing hold of). Hold left fist, back to left, a little higher 
and in front of left shoulder; then seize left wrist with right hand and pull it 
some inches to right; then cross wrists in front of body, right on top, hands closed. 

IN. For a person "in my house," make signs for HOUSE and SIT. 

INCREASE. Hold hands out in front of body, palms toward each other, few inches 
apart, fingers pointing to front; separate hands and move them out and apart by 
gentle jerks. 

INDIAN. Hold the flat left hand, back up, in front, and rub it from wrist to knuckles, 

back and forth, twice. 
INFANTRY. Make signs for WHITE, SOLDIERS and WALK. 

INFERIOR (meaning: in rank or influence). Index fingers side by side, extended 
pointing upwards; one index to represent the inferior is held a little lower than 
the other. -For several persons inferior to one, right index is held a little higher 
than the extended fingers of left. 

INJURE (meaning: doing evil to). Referring to someone else, make signs for WORK 
and BAD. Referring to one's self, make the signs for DO, TO ME, BAD. 

INTERPRETER. Make the signs for HE, TALKS, LITTLE, WHITE MAN, TALK 
and name particular language. 

INTERROGATE. As this means QUESTION, the reader is referred to the explana- 
tion given under that head. 

IRON. Make the sign for HARD and point to something metallic. 

ISLAND. Form an incomplete circle with thumbs and indexes of both hands out in 
front of body, ends of thumbs and indexes an inch apart; leave left hand in posi- 
tion, and make sign for WATER with right hand; then with tips of compressed 
right hand draw a circle outside the circle first formed. 



36 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Jaloux 
Eifersuchtig- 



Jealous 




Joke 




Sauler 



Jump 



Garder 
Behalken 



Bouilloire 
Kessel 






Keep 



^ Kettle 



Kettle Contd 






Tufir 
listen 



Kill 



Mee 



Knife 



Connaifre 



Kno'w 




Terre 
Land 




Ldke 






Lame 



Land 




Large 
Gross 



Hire 
Lachen 




drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation 



end of movement of hands. 
Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 37 



JEALOUS (meaning: elbowing to one side). Hold closed hands near right and left 
breasts; move right elbow a little to right and rear, then left elbow a little to 
left and rear. Repeat. 

JOKE. Hold right hand with back down, in front of mouth, fingers separated, partly 
curved and pointing forward; move hand to front and upwards. This is a recog- 
nized Indian sign, but not in general use. 

JOYOUS. Make signs for HEART and GLAD. 

JUMP. Hold compressed right hand, with back to right, close to right shoulder, 
fingers pointing to front; move hand to front, upwards, over, and down in vertical 
curve. 

JUNIOR. For persons or officers this is generally indicated as in INFERIOR. The 
tip of one index lower than the other, the distance determining the difference in 
rank. 



K 



KEEP. With right hand grasp left index firmly and move hands slightly to right 

and left. 
KEEP CLOSE. Make the signs for GOOD and CLOSE. 

KEEP QUIET. Make sign for HALT, and repeat; then by lowering the hand gently 

the meaning would be, "Fear not," "Do not be anxious," etc, 
KETTLE. Form an incomplete circle as in ISLAND; then with left hand in position 

carry partially-closed righ't hand across and down over imaginary kettle, making 

motion as though about to lift it by the handle. 
KILL. Bring right hand in front of right shoulder, hand nearly closed; strike to 

front downwards and a little to left, stopping hand suddenly with slight rebound. 
KINSHIP (meaning: near or distant from one source). Bring tips of extended, 

touching first and second fingers of right hand against lips, as in sign for 

BROTHER; then make the sign for CLOSE or DISTANT, as relationship may be. 
KNIFE (meaning: cutting a piece of meat, held with the left hand and with teeth). 

Hold right flat hand close to face, lower edge just over mouth; move the hand 

upwards and to left two or three times, as if trying to cut with lower edge of 

hand. Sometimes left hand is held in front of and a little higher than right, as 

though holding meat. 
KNOW. Hold right hand, back up, close to left breast; sweep hand outwards and 

slightly upwards, turning hand by wrist action until palm nearly up; thumb and 

index extended, other fingers closed, thumb and index horizontal, index pointing 

nearly to left, thumb pointing to front. 
KNOW NOT. Make the sign for KNOW, then open hand and sweep it to the right, 

making the sign NO. 



LAKE (meaning: water and shape). Make sign for WATER; then with thumbs and 
index fingers make an incomplete horizontal circle with space of one inch between 
tips; then swing wrists together, tips of indexes apart. 

LAME (meaning: limping motion of animals). Hold closed right hand, palm down, 
one foot in front of right breast; move hand slightly to front, and by wrist action 
bend the hand downwards and to left, repeating motion. 

LAND. Push both flat hands toward the ground, then spread them sideways. 

LARGE. Make the sign for BIG, and if very big, add sign for HIGH. 

LASSO. Make sign for ROPE; then make as though to swing and throw same for- 
ward; then draw the hand back quickly as though catching the animal. 

LAST. Bring right and left indexes together well out to left of body, representing a 
race; then pull right hand away back, representing last in the race. 

LAST YEAR. Make the signs for WINTER and BEYOND. 

LAUGH. Hold both 5 hands partly closed, in front of both breasts, palms up; then 
move them up and down. 

LAW. Make the sign for TRUE. 

LEAD (to) (meaning: leading a pony with lariat). Hold closed right hand, back to 
right, in front, close to and a little higher than right shoulder; move the hand to 
front by gentle jerks. 



38 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 





Feuille 
Blatt 



Leaf 




Guetre 
G-amaschen 




Mensonge 



Lie 




Lumiere 
Licht 



Llghf 



Eclair 
Elite 





Ecouter 
Horen 



Listen 




Long-temps avanf- Long Tt m e - paaf 

Schon lanjge her 





Little 



Longfemps apres ' Long Time -future 
In ^paiern zeiten 



Homme 
Mann 



Man 








Plusieiors 
Viele 



Many 



Flusieurs Fois 

Oft 



i 

Mdpy Times 



Marier 
Heiraten 



Marry 






Match 



Viande 
Fleisch 



Meaf 



Medaille 
Orden 



Medal 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 39 

LEAF. Make the sign for TREE; then hold right hand out in front of shoulder, 

index and thumb curved, one inch between tips, other fingers closed, back of hand 

nearly to right, lower edge pointing to front and upwards; give a wavy motion to 

hand to represent leaf on limb of tree. 
LEGGINGS. Pass hands upwards over that portion of legs covered by leggings, 

thumb and index spread, backs of hands outwards. 
LEND. See BORROW. 

LIAR. Make sign for the person and for LIE. 
LIBERATE. Make signs for HOLD and GO. 
LIE (meaning: two tongues or forked tongue). Bring right 2 hand to right of mouth, 

fingers pointing to left; move the hand to left past mouth. 
LIGHT (not heavy). Hold extended flat hands, back down, at same height in front 

of body, few inches apart, fingers pointing to front; raise hands briskly by wrist 

action. 

LIGHT (not dark). Make the sign for DAY. 
LIGHTNING (meaning: zigzag flash). Point right index upward; then move hand 

to right, rear and downwards in jerky motion, to imitate lightning flash. 
LIKE. Make sign for EQUAL. 

LISTEN. Hold right 4 hand, cupped near right ear; turn hand slightly back and 

forth by wrist action. 
LITTLE. Hold right hand at height of shoulder, back to right, end of thumb pressing 

against inner surface of index, so that only the end of index is seen beyond the 

thumb nail. 

LITTLE TALK. See TALK. 
LIVE. See ALIVE; also RECOVER. 

LIVER. Place extended hands over location of liver, then give them a tremulous 

motion. 

LODGE. See TEEPEE. 
LONG TIME. Make the sign for TIME, then for PAST TIME continue drawing 

right hand towards the right while pushing left index slightly forward. For 

FUTURE TIME, hold left index in position and pass right index past and beyond 

the left. 

LOOK. Make the sign for SEE. 
LOST. Make sign for HIDE. 

LOVE. Make the sign for FOND, with more intense pressure. 
LOW. Hold right flat hand, back up, towards the ground at height desired. 
LUNG. Hold right hand, fingers nearly extended and separated, over breast. 



M 



MAD. Make sign for ANGRY. 

MAKE. Use sign for WORK. 

MALE. Elevate the right index, back out, in front of face. Same as MAN. 

MAN. Elevate the right index, back out, in front of face. Same as MALE. 

MANY. Hold hands well in front, to right and left of body, fingers curved and point- 
ing to front; move hands towards each other on vertical curve downwards; move 
them slightly upwards as though grasping hands, and finish full movement with 
hands opposite and few inches apart. 

MANY TIMES (also, EVERY LITTLE WHILE). Hold left forearm horizontally 
in front of left breast, pointing front and right; touch forearm of left several 
times with side of tip of extended index of right hand, other fingers and thumb 
closed, back of hand nearly to front; commencing near left wrist and moving hand 
towards elbow. This is also used to mean: OFTEN, ALL THE TIME, and 
WHILE. 

MARRY (meaning: trade or purchase). Make sign for TRADE; then join index 
fingers, side by side, pointing to front. 

MARVELOUS. See MEDICINE. 

MATCH (lucifer). With right hand hold match between thumb and index; then rub 
quickly against left forearm, as though scratching a match. 

MATE or CHUM. Make the signs for FRIEND and EQUAL. 

MAY-BE-SO. Same as PERHAPS. 

ME. Point right thumb at breast. 

MEAN (meaning: compressed heart). Make the signs for HEART and SMALL. 

MEAT. Hold flat left hand, back up, in front of left breast; then with the flat right 
hand, palm up, slice imaginary pieces off the left palm. 

MEDAL. Make an incomplete circle with thumb and index of right hand, spaced one 
inch between tips, other fingers closed, and place little finger on center of breast. 



40 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Medicine 
Medizin 



Medicine 



Recontrer 
Treffen 




Meet- 



Mem oi re 
GedacMms 




Memory 




Metal 
Metall 



Metdi 



A midi 
Mittajf 





Mid-day 



Milieu 
Mitte 



Middle 






Meier 
Mischen 



Mingle 



Miroir 
Spiegel 



Mirror 



Manquer 
Verfehien 



Miss 




"r v 




y-t 

/ 

U. S 



I >3e-\\\V\ 

VOT 




Erreau. 
Irrtum 



SouUers en chamois 

Moccasin MocCdSin 



Argfent 
Geld 



Money 





Lune 
Mond 



Moon 



Mere 
Mutter 



Mother 




Motor Car 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 41 

MEDICINE (meaning: mysterious and unknown). Hold right 2 hand close to fore- 
head, palm outwards; index and second fingers separated and pointing upwards, 
others and thumb closed; move hand upwards while turning from right to left 
in a spiral. 

MEDICINE MAN. Make the sign for MAN and for MEDICINE. 

MAKING BAD MEDICINE, or MAKING GOOD MEDICINE. Many Indians use 
this idiom, which is somewhat typical. To express either of the above, make 
signs accordingly. 

MEET (to). Hold 1 hands opposite each other, pointing upwards; bring the hands 
towards each other until tips of index fingers touch. 

MELANCHOLY. Make the signs for HEART and SICK. 

MEMORY. Make the signs for HEART and KNOW. 

METAL. There is no general sign for this except that for HARD. Anything made 
of metal must be pointed to or touched. 

METEOR. Make sign for STAR, and with hand in that position make sign for FIRE; 
and then let it drop in a wavy, tremulous motion. 

MID-DAY. Indicate that the sun is exactly overhead, or make the signs for DAY and 
MIDDLE. 

MIDDLE. Hold left 1 hand well in front of left breast, with back to left; hold 
right 1 hand in front of right breast, raise it slightly up and over in small semi- 
circle until tip of right index rests on middle joint of left index. 

MIDNIGHT. Make the signs for NIGHT and MIDDLE. 

MIDWINTER. Make the sign for WINTER and for MIDDLE. 

MIGRATE (meaning: of birds). Make sign for BIRD, MANY and FLYING to 
south or north. 

MILKY-WAY (meaning: ghosts, or dead men's road). Make sign for DIE, for 
TRAIL; then with right flat hand fully extended sweep in a segment of circle 
across that part of the sky. 

MIND. Touch the two first fingers of right hand to forehead. 

MINGLE. Hold slightly compressed hands out in front of body, opposite neck, hands 
pointing upward, close together, move them one about the other in circles, sur- 
faces touching. 

MIRROR. Hold up flat right hand with palm twelve inches from face, fingers point- 
ing upwards. This represents a hand mirror. 

MISLEAD. Make sign for TRAIL; then show deception by pushing right index out 
at a different angle. 

MISS (to). Make the sign for AVOID. 

MISTAKE. Make the signs for WORK and HIDE. 

MIX. To mix by stirring imitate the motion. To mix otherwise, make the sign for 
MINGLE. 

MOCCASIN. Pass spread thumbs and indexes up from toes, over feet to ankles; 
right over right, left over left, palms close to feet. 

MONEY. Hold right hand, back to right, well out in front of right breast, index and 
thumb curved, forming an incomplete circle, space half inch beween tips, other 
fingers closed. 

MONKEY (meaning: half white man, half dog). Pass the spread thumb and index 
finger of each hand, other fingers closed, over and near the surface of body 
from waist upwards, palms towards body; then make sign for WHITES; then 
pass the hand similarly from waist down, and make sign for DOG. The upper 
portion like white man, lower like dog. 

MONTHS or MOONS. See pages 58 and 79. 

MOON (meaning: night sun). Make the sign for NIGHT; then with curved thumb 
and index of right hand form a segment or quarter moon, and hold it in line of 
vision to where moon should be on high. 

MORNING. Make the signs for DAY and SUNRISE. 

MOTHER. With partially curved compressed right hand give two or three gentle 
taps or pluckings at left breast. 

MOTHER-IN-LAW. Make the sign for HUSBAND or WIFE, and then for MOTHER. 

MOTION PICTURES. This is a strictly recent proposition, and must be so regarded. 
The modern Indian, however, knows all about the pictures, and thousands act in 
them. Have seen different descriptive signs made, the most common being to ex- 
tend both flat hands, upright, and vibrate them rapidly, to show flicker of the 
picture, and sign LOOK. One Indian who had been to Hollywood made sign 
similar to OWL, as though looking into opera glass, and then sign for turning 
crank. 

MOTOR CAR. Make the sign for automobile. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 





y 
v&' 



Di^ue 
Wall 



Mound 



Montagrne 
Berg" 




/ m is*? 

)^-~L 



Mountain 



Pleurer 
Trauern 




Mourr) 







Beaucoup 
Viel 





Much 



Boue 
Kot 



Mud 



Mulef 
Maulesel 



Mule 






II faut 
Nussen 



Must- 



Mon on ma 
Mein 




My or Mine 



Gazette 



Newspaper 



* Perce 
Nez Perce 




Nuif- 
Nacht 



Nez Perce' 





Midi 




Noon 





Now 



rment 
id 



Odlth 



A-iiie drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands, 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Paee. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 43 

MOUND. Partially curve the hands and, with backs up, bring them alongside each 
other in front of body; separate the hands in downward curves, to right with right 
hand, to left with left 

MOUNTAIN. Push up the closed hand as in bluff, but raised higher; then make the 
sign for HARD. Use both hands to represent a mountainous country. 

MOUNTAIN LION. Make the signs for CAT, for LONG TAIL, and for JUMP. 

MOURN (meaning: cutting off the hair and crying). With extended separated right 
2 hand make as though to cut off hair horizontally just below ears; then make 
the sign for CRY. 

MOUSE. To represent height hold the right flat hand close to ground, and partially 
closing same hand imitate its movements in running; then make sign for NIGHT, 
and with right thumb and index nibble at left index. 

MOVE (meaning: to move camp). Make sign for TEEPEE: then lower hands from 
this position as though taking down the lodge poles; then make the signs for 
WORK, for PACK, and GO. 

MUCH. Make the sign for MANY. 

MUD. With left compressed, catch or hold right compressed hand and drag down 
over same; then reverse and repeat (imitating an animal pulling its feet out of the 
mud); point to ground. For soft in any other sense, use signs for HARD and NO. 

MULE. Hold extended^ hands alongside of ears, palms to front, fingers pointing up- 
wards; by wrist action move hands forward and back to represent their motion. 

MUST. Make the sign for PUSH. (Used as a command.) 

MY or MINE. Make the sign for POSSESSION. 

MYSTERIOUS or WONDERFUL. Make the sign for MEDICINE. 



N 



NAME. In asking the name of a person the Indian method would be to make the 
signs QUESTION, YOU, CALLED "What are you called?" meaning: "What 
are you named?" 

NARROW. Make the sign for FEW. 

NAVAJO Indian (meaning: makes striped blankets): Make the signs for WORK, 
BLANKET and STRIPED. 

NEAR. Make the sign for CLOSE. 

NEEDLE. Make the sign for SEW. 

NEGRO (meaning: black white man). Make sign for WHITE MAN, and sign for 

BLACK. 

NEW. Make the signs for OLD, NO, and GOOD. 
NEWSPAPER. Hold the flat hands side by side, palm up; then move hands apart 

as though spread out, and sign LOOK. To this I have known an Indian to add 

the signs WRITING and TALK. 
NEXT YEAR. You must indicate the season. If in winter you wish to say, "next 

summer," make signs for WINTER, for FINISHED, and for GRASS. Showing 

high grass. If in Summer you wish to say, "next Winter," make signs for 

AUTUMN, for FINISHED, and for WINTER. 
NEZ PERCE Indian (meaning: pierced noses). Hold right index slightly under and 

to right of nose, then push index across to left below the nose. 
NIGHT (meaning: earth covered over). Extend flat hands in front of body, ten inches 

apart, backs up, right hand a little higher; move right hand to left and left to right 

turning hands a trifle by wrist action. 
NO. Hold extended flat right hand, back up, in front of body, fingers pointing to left 

and front; swing the hand to right and front while turning hand so that thumb is 

up and back downwards, then return to first position. 
NOON. With right thumb and index forming incomplete circle one inch between 

tips, show position of sun overhead. 
NOTIFY. Make the sign for TALK. 
NOW. Bring extended index finger of right hand about 8 inches in front of face, and 

without stopping carry it quickly several inches to front, stopping with a rebound. 
NUMBERS. See COUNT. 

O 

OATH. In early times there were several ways of imposing this obligation. Point- 
ing to the zenith and the earth was an oath with many tribes. An ancient oath, 
with eyes and hands (flat) upraised, meant "God see my hands, they are clean." 
Holding up the right hand is now understood by all Indians, and is called "The 
white man's way." 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



Reprendre 

Einholen Overtake 




INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 45 

OBEY. Make the sign for LISTEN. 

OCEAN. Make the signs for WATER and BIG. 

OFFICER. Make the sign for CHIEF. 

OFTEN (MANY TIMES, REPEAT). Hold left forearm horizontally in front of 

left breast, pointing to front; then with right index touch left forearm several times 

commencing at wrist and passing upwards towards elbow. 
OJIBWAY. See CHIPPEWA. 
OLD (meaning: walking with a stick). Hold closed right hand, back to right, twelve 

inches in front of right shoulder, at height of breast; move hand upwards, to front, 

downwards and back to first position in a curve. Repeat motion. 
OPPOSITE. Point both extended index fingers toward each other, at same height, 

other fingers and thumbs closed. 
OSAGE Indian (meaning: shaved heads). Bring backs of extended hands alongside 

of head, fingers pointing to rear; move hands downwards as though cutting the 

hair with lower edges of hands. Repeat this. 
OTTER (meaning: decorating the hair). Hold right hand near top of right ear, thumb, 

index and second fingers extended together; lower the hand while making a small 

spiral with tips of fingers. There is a general custom among all plains Indians. of 

decorating the hair with strips of otter skin. 
OUTSIDE. Make sign to show whether outside of teepee, house or camp; then with 

left hand still in position make sign for HERE with right hand, beyond or outside 

of the left hand. 

OVER. Make the sign for ACROSS. 
OVERTAKE. Extend left flat hand with palm outwards, fingers pointing to front 

and up; hold right 1 hand near breast, palm outwards, index pointing front and up; 

move right hand out till it touches left. 
OWL (meaning: big eyes). Make sign for BIRD; then make circles of thumbs and 

indexes of both hands and place them in front of eyes. 
OWN. Make the sign for POSSESSION. 



PACK. Hold partly compressed left hand in front of body, back out; then with partly 
compressed right hand pat upper surface of left; then pat back of left; then reverse 
and in same manner pat right hand with left. This represents loading a pack animal. 

PADDLE. Make the sign for BOAT, and indicate use of paddle. 

PAINT. With finders extended rub the cheeks and front of face with palm of right 
hand. 

PALSY. Bring the hands close to breast, back up, then shake them with a quivering 
motion. 

PARADE. Make sign for WHITE MAN, for SOLDIER, and for WALK. Some- 
times add RIDING HORSE BACK, and GO. 

PART. If one-half, make sign for HALF; if more or less indicate accordingly. 

PARTNER. Make sign for BROTHER. Indians seem averse to partnership, but 
often adopt a man as friend or brother. 

PAST. (Sense of time meaning time behind.) Make the sign for BEFORE. 

PAWNEE (meaning: Wolf). Make the sign for INDIAN, then hold right 2 hand, 
fingers extended, close to right shoulder, palm outwards; carry hand slightly up- 
wards and six inches to front. 

PAYMASTER. Make the signs for MONEY and CHIEF. 

PEACE. Clasp the hands in front of body, with back of left hand down. 

PEAK. Compress fingers of right hand tightly together, cone shape; then raise hand 
in front of body, back outwards. 

PEOPLE. Right index, shoulder high, moving up and 'down as shown. Have seem 
Indians use both 5 hands, near breast, backs out. 

PERHAPS (meaning: two hearts). Hold right 2 hand over heart, pointing to left, 
fingers separated; then by forearm movement roll the hand back and forth. When 
expressing many conflicting emotions or many doubts, vibrate *or roll the extended 
5 hand. This would represent deep consideration. 

PHONOGRAPH. With right hand make as though to wind it up; then show turning 
disk; then make signs for LISTEN, and GOOD. (A flexible modern sign, well 
understood by Indians.) 

PICKET To picket a horse (meaning: to drive picket pin in the ground). Make the 
sign for HORSE, for TIMBER; then bring closed left hand, thumb up, in front 
of body, and strike it a few times with closed right hand. 



46 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



Pipe 
Pfeife 




Pipe 



Pistolet 
Pistole 

a 




>Y V 

IT 



Pisfol 



Compassion 
Mitlaid 




Pity 




Beaucoup 
Geniig 



WSs'^ 




- 
Bedaure mich Pity Me 



Pauvre 
Arm 



Poor 




Portrait- 
Bildnis 



Becharne 




Possession 
Besitz 




V *v^ N - ^^ J^- 

Oi " / SP^ 




Poor in flesh 



Porfrait 



Possession 




^^vfs^Jli 





Poudre 
Pulver 



Powder 



'rairie 
Prarie 



Prairie 



Pri'sajnier 

Gefangener Prisoner 



Conversation prive'e 
Privatgespracjj 





Querelle 
Streifr 



Private Talk 



Push 




Line drawing shows beginning an,d dotted outline shows end of movement of hands 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE j47 

PIPE (meaning: holding long wooden stem). Bring the hands in front of neck, backs 

down, left hand four inches from chin, right hand several inches in front of left; 

move hands to^ front and downwards short distance, as though lowering pipe; then 

repeat. (Stem is held between thumb and index.) 
PISTOL. Make the sign for GUN; then with both hands indicate "six", for six shooter, 

by holding up right hand, fingers and thumb extended, separated, and holding up 

left thumb, left fingers closed. 

PITY towards another. Both 1 hands, backs tip, carried outward and downward to- 
wards another person. 

PITY ME. Hold both 1 hands, well out, and draw them to the breast 
PLANT. Make sign for CORN, for WORK; then with right hand near shoulder 

make as though dropping seed in the ground. 

PLENTY. Hold extended 5 hands well out to right and left; then bring them in to- 
gether as though gathering something up. 

PONY. Make the signs for HORSE and LITTLE, showing height with left flat hand. 
POOR (in possession). Hold up left 1 hand, back out, index pointed upwards; then 

with right index make as though to scrape left index bare, striking from tip of 

finger downwards. 
POOR (meaning: flesh clawed off). Bring curved hands close to center of body and 

make as though to claw the flesh off the ribs, first with right then with left. Repeat. 
PORCUPINE. Show size of animal; then point up with fingers as in grass; then indi- 
cate working on moccasin. 
PORTRAIT. Hold left hand same as in MIRROR, and with right hand indicate as 

though making sketch on left palm. 
POSSESSION Cfor such words as HIS, HERS, YOURS, MINE, ETC.). Hold closed 

fist in front of neck, back to right; swing hand slightly downwards and by wrist 

action have thumb point to front. 
POWDER. Hold left flat hand in front of body, back down, and rub tips of fingers 

and thumb of right hand slightly above left palm. 
PRAIRIE. Extend both hands out in front, about height of face, touching, palms up, 

fingers to front; 'then separate hands moving right to right, left to left on an even 

plane. 
PRAIRIE DOG. To right of body hold right hand near ground, showing height of 

animal; then make sign for HOLE; then push compressed right hand through 

closed left hand, until tips emerge; then with thumb and index snap them as in 

LITTLE TALK, representing their chattering noise. 
PRAY. Make the signs for WORK (meaning: making), and MEDICINE. Some 

Southern Indians hold both flat hands, palms up, high above the sides of the head 

meaning: "God sees my hands; there is no blood on them, I am innocent." 
PRESIDENT. Make the sign for WHITES, for CHIEF, and for BIG, and with left 

hand point afar as if towards Washington. 
PRIEST (meaning: black robes). Make the sign for COAT, carrying hands well down, 

and for BLACK. ,,,.. 

The earliest Missionaries among the Indians were The Catholic Priests, known as 

"Black Robes," and Episcopalian ministers, known as "White Robes." 
PRISONER (meaning: bound at wrists). Close the hands, cross the wrists in front 

of body, the right resting on left, palms down. 
PRIVATE TALK. Hold extended left hand, back up, in front of left breast; with 

right thumb and index make sign for LITTLE TALK under and close to left palm. 
PROUD. Used by Indians as meaning vain. Make sign for PAINT, for DRESS 

and for FOND meaning, fond of GOOD DRESS. 
PUEBLO Indian. Make sign for MEXICAN, for WORK, for BLANKET, and for 

STRIPED. 
PUSH. Place both fists near breasts holding arms rigid; then move them a few inches 

forward as with an effort. 



QUARREL. Bring index fingers, pointing up, several inches ^apart, opposite each other, 
in front of body, level with shoulders; now by wrist action move right tip toward 
left then tip toward right, alternately, and repeat. Make motions sharply. Also 
means SCOLDING. 

QUEEN. Make signs for FEMALE, CHIEF, and BIG. 

QUENCH. Make the sign for FIRE; then, with back up, hold extended right hand 
over place where sign for FIRE was made, and lower the hand; then make sign 
for WIPED OUT. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



/ , \ > . Imprudent 
1 J U ' Rapids Hastig 




outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Explanation Found on Opposite Pag-e. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 49 

QUESTION. Hold right 5 hand, palm outwards, at height of shoulders, fingers and 
thumb extended, separated and pointing upwards, turn the hand slightly by wrist 
action two or three times. If the person is distant, hold the hand higher and move 
it considerably to right and left. This particularly means WHAT and partially 
means WHY, WHERE, WHEN; which see. 

QUICK. Make the sign for HURRY. 

QUIET DOWN. Hold flat hands, back up, out in front of body, as high as shoulders, 
fingers pointing to front; lower the hands slowly. 

R 

RABBIT. Show the height of rabbit; then make the sign for JUMP. 
RACE. State kind of race. Then move index fingers forward as in EQUAL. 
RAILWAY. Make the sign for WAGON; then for FIRE with right hand held well 

up in front of head, then sign FAST. 
RAIN (meaning: falling from clouds). In front of head hold closed hands, near each 

other, backs up, in same relative positions; lower hands a trifle by wrist action, 

and while doing so open the hands. Repeat motion twice, slowly. 
RAINBOW. Make the sign for RAIN, and for FINISHED; then with extended right 

hand, back up, imitate circle of rainbow in sky. 
RAPIDS. Make the sign for RIVER and for ROCK; then hold right 5 hand near 

breast, pointing downwards; with tremulous motion move hand quickly to front 

and down. 
RASH. Hold the left flat hand over the eyes, then thrust the right index outward 

from back of left hand. 
RATTLE. With closed right hand held in front and above right shoulder, shake the 

hand as if it was a rattle. (The rattle is an important musical instrument in Indian 

ceremonies.) 
RATTLESNAKE. Make the sign for SNAKE; then extend right index upwards in 

front of right shoulder and vibrate sharply. 
REACH (to). See ARRIVE THERE. 
READING. Make signs for BOOK and LOOK. 
RECEIVE. Make the sign for POSSESSION. 
RECOVER. Place right 1 hand before right breast, back up, forearm horizontal; 

raise the hand until forearm straight up, turning hand until back is to front. This 

means recovery from sickness or escape from danger. 
RED (meaning: paint used on face). With _ fingers pointing upward, rub right cheek 

with inside first joints of right hand, making circular motion. 
REMAIN. Make the sign for SIT. 

REMEMBER. Make the signs for HEART, and KNOW. 
REPEAT. Make the sign for OFTEN. 

RESTRAIN. Make the sign for HOLD, and for KEEP QUIET. 
RETREAT. Make the sign for CHARGE, to show the attack; then by wrist action 

turn the hands .so that fingers point to rear. 

RICH. Make the signs for POSSESS, MANY, PONIES (or HORSES). 
RIDE. If animal is meant, make the sign for HORSE, and then, move hands forward 

in small curves. If riding a vehicle make the sign for same, and then make sign 

for SIT on left palm. 
RING (finger). Hold left 5 hand in front of breast, lying flat, back up; then touch back 

of finger on third joint with right index. 
RISING MAN. Make sign for person; then hold left hand at height of neck, palm 

outwards, index pointing upwards; bring extended index of right hand beside and 

lower than left; raise right slowly until well above other hand. 

RIVER (meaning: water flowing). Make the sign for water; then move right hand 

to left of face, height of neck, index extended pointing left, move hand to right 

until opposite right shoulder, with index horizontal. 
ROAD. With both 'open hand palms up, alternately push hands back and forth. A 

modern sign gives TRAIL and WAGON. 
ROCK. Make the sign for HARD, and indicate shape. 
ROPE. Hold hands as in AFTER; then with tip of right index make a spiral curve 

by wrist action while drawing right hand to rear. 
ROSE. Hold slightly compressed left hand out in front; then with right compressed 

pluck at ends of fingers. 
RUN (to). Make the sign for WALK and for FAST. 



50 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Frapper centre 

Dagegfen renner Run Again sf 




Selle 
Sattel 



Saddle 




Voir 
Sehen 



5ee 










5aisir 
Ergreifen 



Seize 



Se'parer 
Sepanat- 



Separate 



Coudre 
Nahen 



Sew 




Dormer la main 
Hand reichen 



Aigii 
5cbarf 





Sharp 



Moulran 
Sch'af 



Sheec 





Shoot- 



Court 
Kurtz 



Sliori: 




Malade 
Kranz 



Langvage de si^nes 






ii/ence 
itill 



Silent 



Cha-nier- 



Sing 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE . 51 

RUN AGAINST. Hold flat left hand in front of breast, back out; hold right in same 
relative position but nearer body; move right briskly so that back strikes inside of 
left hand. 



SACRED. Make the sign for MEDICINE. 

SAD (meaning: heart laid on the ground). Make the sign for HEART; then swing 

hand out and downwards toward the ground, turning palm up. 
SADDLE. Place inside of both wrists together in front of breast; then holding this 

position, push both closed hands as far back as possible. 
SALT. Touch the tongue with tip of extended right index, other fingers and thumb 

closed; then make the sign for BAD. Sometimes the sign for WHITE is made; 
SAME. Make the sign for EQUAL. 
SERGEANT. t Make the sign for WHITES, for SOLDIER, and with right index 

mark position, extent and number of stripes on the arms. 
SAW. Imitate using the tool. 
SCHOOL HOUSE. Make the sign for HOUSE, for WHITES, for LOOK (2 fingers 

pointing towards left palm), and for KNOW. 
SCOLD. Make the signs for TALK and BAD. 
SCOUT. Make the sign for WOLF. 

SCOUT (to). Make the sign for WOLF; then sign for LOOK. 
SEARCH. See SCOUT. 
SEASONS. The usual names for the seasons are, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, 

FALL, and for explanation of same see pages 57, 49, 51, 23. 
SEE. Bring right 2 hand to opposite eyes, and the two fingers should point in the 

direction one is looking. 
SEIZE. Move open hands out in front of body; close them briskly and draw towards 

body, as though seizing something. 
SELL. See EXCHANGE. 
SEPARATE. Hold the 1 hands close together in front, indexes pointing forward; 

by wrist action turn the hands so that right index points to right and front, left 

index to left and front; moving right hand to right and front, left to left and front. 
SEW. Hold flat left hand, back to left, in front of body; use right index as an awl or 

needle, bringing it just over thumb, pointing to left, inner surface pressed against 

inner surface of index; move right hand slightly to left, and by wrist action turn 

back of index down as it passes. Repeat motion two or three times. 
SHAKE HANDS. Clasp hands in front of body. In former times Indians only 

clasped hands in concluding a treaty or making peace. They now, in dealing with 

whites, observe the custom. 
SHARP. Hold flat right hand, back down, in front of right breast; then lightly touch 

lower edge of right hand with ball of left thumb; then make sign for GOOD. 
SHAWL. Make sign for FEMALE; then sign for BLANKET. 
SHE. Make the sign for WOMAN. 
SHEEP Mountain (meaning; horns). Compress and slightly curve the hands in front 

and above the head have them curve in a way similar to that made by the big 

horns of the sheep. 
SHEEP Domestic. Make sign for MOUNTAIN SHEEP, for WHITES, and for 

WITH. 

SHOE. Make the signs for MOCCASIN and WHITES. 
SHOOT. Hold nearly closed right hand, back up, in front of breast, tips of first three 

fingers pressed against ball of thumb; move hand out, down and to left, while 

snapping the fingers out from under the thumb. 
SHORT. Hold compressed right hand to right and front of body, fingers pointing 

upward and hand at height to be represented. 
SHOSHONE Indian (meaning: sheep eater). Make the sign for INDIAN, for 

SHEEP, and for EAT. 
SICK. Hold extended 5 hands in front of body; then wave them out and in, two or 

three times, to denote throbbing. 

SIGN LANGUAGE. Hold out flat left hand, back up, touch back of fingers with 

inside of fingers of right hand; then reverse this process; then make sign for TALK. 

SILENT. Place tips of fingers of right hand over lips, and incline the head sliehtlv 

to front. 
SILVER. Make the signs for MONEY and WHITE. 

SINCE. See AFTER. 

SING. Hold right 2 hand in front of mouth and make sign for ALL. 



INDIAN. SIGN LANGUAGE 



. 

Bieiben Oir or Remain 




Line drawing shows beginning arid dotted outline shows end of movement of hands 
btudents must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 53 

SIOUX Indian (meaning: cutting off heads). Draw right flat hand across, from left, 
in front of neck as though cutting off the head. This is the sign of the Sioux or 
Dakota Nation. 

SISTER. Make the sign for FEMALE; then place the tips of extended index and 
second finger against lips, fingers horizontal, backs up, other fingers and thumb 
closed; move the hand horizontally several inches to the front. 

SISTER-IN-LAW. Make the sign for BROTHER, for HIS, and for WIFE. 

SIT or REMAIN. Hold closed right hand in front of and little below right shoulder; 
then move hand downward several inches. 

SLED. Hold the 1 hands, backs down, in front of body, equally advanced, several 
inches apart, indexes curved, move hands forward simultaneously. 

SLEEP. ^ Lower the extended flat hands with a sweep into following position: left 
hand in front of right breast pointing to right, right hand six inches to right of left, 
pointing to front and right; then incline head to right. 

SLOW. With both palms facing and three inches apart, move hands slowly forward 

by short stops. 

SMALL. If referring to an animal, indicate the height. For small quantity of any- 
thing make the sign for FEW. 
SMELL. Bring right 2 hand, fingers separated, back up, in front of chin pointing to 

face; then by wrist action move the hand upwards, so that nose passes between tips 

of fingers. 
SMOKE. For distant or signal fire smoke, make sign for FIRE, and continue raising 

hand until higher than head. 
SMOKE (meaning: to smoke a pipe). Hold left fist in front of body; then with flat 

right hand held three inches above left strike down two or three times; then make 

sign for PIPE. 
SMOOTH. Make the sign for PRAIRIE, and add ROCK or BLUFF, and WIPED 

OUT. 
SNAKE. Hold right 1 hand at right side, waist high, move hand one foot forward 

with a wavy motion. 
SNOW. Hold extended 5 hands in front of face, fingers pointing downward, lower 

in circular zigzags, to indicate whirling, sifting snow. 

SNOW SHOE. Indicate the shape and size with right index; then make signs for 
WALK, SNOW, and GOOD. 

SOAP. With hands held in front of body, rub them together as though washing them. 

SOFT. Make the signs for HARD and NO. 

SOLDIER. Bring closed fists in front of breast, thumbs touching; then separate hands 
horizontally to right and left. 

SON. Make sign for man; then with right index pointing upwards, lower hand to in- 
dicate height of child. 

SORREL. Touch something yellow and make sign for LITTLE. 

SOUR. With tip of extended index of right hand touch the tongue; then make sign 
for BAD. 

SPEAK. See TALK. 

SPOON. Make the sign for BUFFALO, and leaving right hand in position touch it 
with left; then use right hand to dip into some vessel, and carry to mouth. 

SPOTTED. Hold out flat left hand and arm, pointing right and front; then hold right 
hand above left wrist, fingers slightly separated; then with right finger tips start- 
ing at left wrist, touch left forearm every two inches towards elbow, merely 
brushing with ends of fingers. Southern Indians lay back of hands on each other, 
fingers over fingers, then rub them back and forth several times, to represent spotted, 
mottled, brindle, roan, or any off color. 

SPRING (meaning: grass coming out of ground). Make the signs for GRASS and 
LITTLE. 

SPRING (meaning: a spring of water). Make the sign for WATER; then with thumbs 
and index fingers form a circle in front of body; then, still holding left in position, 
bring compressed right under the circle, fingers held under the thumb; then release 
them with a snap to indicate bubbling spring. Repeat last movement. 

SPY. Make the sign for WOLF. 

STAND. To indicate anything standing upright, bring right 1 hand to right and front 
2nd higher than right shoulder, index pointing upwards. 

STANDING ROCK (meaning: an agency on the MISSOURI RIVER). Make the 
signs for STAND and ROCK. 



54 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 



Etoile 
Stern 





Star 



DeVoler 
Stehlen 





.Steal 



Frapper 
Schlagfen 



Strike 



JRayer 
Gesb-Eift 



Soleil 
5onne 






5tripedl 



Sun 



Superieu.r 
Besser 



Superior 






Lever dusoleii 
Sonnen 



5unri56 



En tourer 



Surround 



Nagsr 
ScJiwtnrnien 



Swim 





Dlscours 
jSprechen 




Prefidre 
NeVimen 



Take 



Causerie 

Plaudern Little TaLk 




Mgler 
Verwickelt 



Tangled 




Goater 
Geschmack 




Tattoo 



Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 55 

STAR. Make the sign for NIGHT; then form a small incomplete circle with right 

thumb and index, and raise hand toward sky. For brilliant star, snap index against 

thumb to denote twinkling. 
START. Make the sign for GO. 
STAY. Make the sign for SIT. 

STEAL. Hold extended left hand in front of left breast, back up, pass right 1 hand 
under and close to left hand, until right wrist is close to left palm, right index ex- 
tended; then draw back the right hand, at same time crooking index, 
STEAMBOAT (meaning: fire-boat). Make the sign for BOAT; then sign for FIRE, 

holding hand a little higher than the head. 
STINGY. Make the signs for HEART and FEW. 
STONE. Make the sign for HARD, and indicate shape as of a boulder. 
STOP. See HALT. 

STORE. Make signs for HOUSE and TRADE. 
STRAIGHT. See TRUE. 
STRIKE. Hold left flat hand out in front of left breast, back down; use right hand 

like a hatchet and strike palm of left. Generally used to represent a blow given 

with a weapon. 
STRIPED. Hold left arm as in SPOTTED; then draw palm of extended right hand 

from left to right across left forearm in various places. 
STRONG. The sign for BRAVE was formerly used by many. The later preference is 

to hold right fist^above left fist and strike over and downwards with twisting motion, 

as though breaking a small stick. 

SUGAR. Touch the tongue with tip of right index; then make the sign for GOOD. 
SUMMER. Make the sign for GRASS, holding hands very high. Some Indians also 

denote SUN passing overhead, and HOT. 
SUN. Form, with index and thumb of right hand, an incomplete circle, space of one 

inch between tips; hold hand towards the east; then move it in a curve across the 

heavens towards the west. Also used to denote the time of day. (Right hand held 

towards left indicates eastward). 
SUNDAY. Make signs for DAY and MEDICINE. Have seen Indians describe other 

days of the week by indicating so many days before or after Medicine Day. 
SUNRISE. With right index and thumb make an incomplete circle, other fingers 

closed. Hold arm horizontal pointing to left; then raise hand about a foot. 
SUNSET Opposite to SUNRISE. With thumb and index of right hand forming 

an incomplete circle, extend right hand to right, about 1 foot above horizontal; 

then lower same 12 inches. 
SUPERIOR. In comparing two persons or things, place the two extended indexes 

side by side, pointing up, one held higher than the other, the highest representing 

the superior. When one is superior to several, place index of right hand above 

extended thumb and four fingers of left. 
SUPPER. See EAT. 

SURPRISE. Make the sign for ASTONISH. 

SURROUND. Hold thumbs and indexes in semi-circle several inches apart and op- 
posite each other; then bring them together to form a flat circle. 
SWEET. See SUGAR. 
SWIM. Make the sign for WATER; then strike the arms out well in front as though 

swimming. 

T 

TAIL. Place right 1 hand to rear of center of body, index finger pointing to rear 

and downwards. 
TAKE. Push the right 1 hand well out in front, to right of body, index extended, 

pointing to front; pull hand quickly towards body while curving index finger into 

a hook. 
TALK. A "little talk", or "one person talking to another", is expressed as follows: 

with nail of right index pressing against thumb, move hand a trifle to front and snap 

the index straight forward (these words "are thrown out")- Repeat motion. For 

a council to "speak at length", hold right flat hand, back down, in front of mouth, 

and move hand outward a few inches; repeating the motion. 
TALL. Hold right hand as in STAND, but at full length of extended arm. 
TANGLED, Move the hands, one about the other, with fingers slightly separated. 
TASTE. Touch the tongue with tip of right index. 
TATTOO. Compress the right hand, and tap with ends of fingers that portion of 

body which has been marked. 
TEA. Make the sign for TREE, for LEAF, for DRINK, and for GOOD. 



56 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Teepee 




Cites -moi 
Sag'mir 



Tell Me 




Herci 
Danke 



Thank "You 




Epais 
Dick 





Thick 



Maigre 
Dunn 



Thu 



Penser 
Denken 



TMc 




Temps 





Time 



FatigMe 
Mude 



Tired 



Tafcac 
Tafcak 



Tobacco 





Ensemble 
Zttsammen 



Together 



Hache de^uerre 
Tomahawk 




Tauschen 



Trade 






Trap 



Arbre 
Baum 



Tree 



Trottei* 
Tifaben 



Trot- 



Line drawing shows beginning, and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 57 

TEEPEE.^ With index fingers, touching at tips, form an angle of 60 degress. Some- 
times index fingers are crossed at first joints, to indicate extended teepee poles. 

TELEGRAPH. Make sign for WRITE; then hold flat hand back out, in front of 
breast; with lower edge of extended right hand strike upper edge of left, with a re- 
bound, and then make sign for GO, quickly. A flexible modern sign. 

TELL ME TALK TO ME (meaning bring the word to me). The open right hand 
is placed palm up in front of mouth; then draw toward the lips with a quick jerk. 

THANK YOU. Extend both flat hands, backs up, in sweeping curve outward and 
downward, toward another person. 

THERE. Make the sign for SIT, moving the hand well out from body. Have seen 
Indians simply point with middle finger. 

THEY or THEM. Point to person and make sign ALL. 

THICK. Hold up flat left hand sideways in front of breast, with right hand reach 
around from below and clasp thickest part; move thumb and finger back and forth 
few tinxes. 

THIEF. Make the sign for PERSON and for STEAL. 

THIN. If possible point to something thin; otherwise with right thumb and two 
fingers rub lower edge of left hand just back of little finger. This is a somewhat 
confusing sign, as it also stands for BACON. If making sign for BACON, add 
the sign EAT. 

THINK (meaning: drawn from the heart). Hold right hand, back up, against left 

breast, index extended and pointing to left; move hand horizontally outwards 

eight or ten inches, turning palm downward. 
THOUSAND. Make sign for HUNDRED and for TEN. 
THREAD. As though twisting thread rub innner surface of tips of thumb and index; 

make the sign for SEW, ending by carrying right hand well out to right to imitate 

motion of sewing. 
THUNDER. Make the sign for BIRD^and for FIRE, holding the hand a little in 

front of and higher than head. (Indian lore records thunder as being caused by 

the "Thunder Bird".) 
TIME. There has been some diversity of gesture in regard to passage of time, but we 

present the most logical. For abstract TIME, extend right and left 1 hands towards 

the left, hands tandem, then pull right hand about three inches backward to right. 

See BEFORE, AFTER, FUTURE, PAST, BEHIND and LONG TIME. 
TIMOROUS. Make the signs for COWARD, and LITTLE. 
TIRED. Hold out 1 hands together, backs up; lower hands a few inches while drawing 

them slightly towards body. 
TOBACCO. Hold the flat left hand, back down, in front of body; place lower edge, 

or heel, of closed right hand on left palm; then with heel of right hand rub left 

palm with a circular motion. 

TODAY. Make the signs for DAY and NOW.. Many Indians merely use NOW. 
TOGETHER. Make the sign for WITH. 
TOMAHAWK. Generally indicated by using right forearm and hand as a hatchet, 

by elbow action, striking forward and downward with flat hand held edgewise. 
TOMORROW. Make the sign for NIGHT, then sign for DAY; then with left hand 

indicate SUN rising in east. 

TONGUE. Protrude tongue a trifle and touch with first finger. 
TORNADO (meaning: the wind charges). Make the sign for WIND, and for 

CHARGE. 

TOWN. Make signs for CITY and LITTLE. 
TRACK. Make the sign for WALK and point to the ground. 
TRADE. Make the sign for EXCHANGE. 

TRADER. Make the signs for WHITES, CHIEF and TRADE. 
TRAIL (to). Make the signs for TRACK and LOOK. 

TRAP. For iron or steel traos, touch or point to something made of metal; hold 
' closed hands side by side, knuckles touching, index fingers curved and touching; 

then bring sides of indexes together, to represent closing of jaws of trap. 
TREATY. If the treaty is between two tribes make the signs for MAKE, SMOKE, 

and SHAKE HANDS. If treaty is with the whites, make signs for SHAKE 

HANDS and WRITE. 
TREE. Hold open left hand about ten inches in front of shoulder, back outward, thumb 

and fingers spread. Move slightly upward, slowly, to indicate growth. 
TROT. Make sign for the animal; then bring both fists in front of body, same height, 

equally advanced, and few inches apart; then imitate action of front feet in trotting 

by alternately striking to front and downwards. 



58 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Vrai 
Wahr 



True 




Essayer 
Versuchen 



Try 




Pincettes 
Pincette 



Tweezers 




Scintiller 
Z win kern 





Ugly 



Inccrfain 
Ungewbs 



Uncertain 






Verstehen' Understand 



Unir 
Vereinigen 



Unite 



En 
Auf- 



Up 




wag"en 



Wagen 



Wdg'on 





Wag'on C coveredD 



Aiiendre 
"Marten 



Wdl it- 






Marcher 
&e?ien 



Walk 



Besoin 



Wcani: 



War 



Line drawing shows beginning: and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands. 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page. 



. INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 59 

TROUBLE. Make sign for HEART; then hold right 5 hand over heart, palm almost 

touching, and by wrist action vibrate as in PERHAPS. 
TRUE (meaning; one way or tongue straight). Hold right 1 hand, back up, under 

chin, close to neck; move index finger straight to the front. This means straight 

from heart and tongue. 
TRY. Make the sign for PUSH. 
TURKEY (meaning: beard). Make the sign for BIRD; then place compressed right 

hand under chin, pointing downwards; vibrate hand slightly by wrist action. 
TWEEZERS. With tip of thumb and index, make as though same were a small pair 

of tweezers; then indicate pulling out hair from face or eyebrows with a jerk. 

This is a constant practice with Indians. 
TWINKLE. Make the sign for STAR, and while holding hand in that position snap 

index and thumb as in LITTLE TALK. 

U 

UGLY. Pass the palm of flat right hand in a circle close to face; then make the sign 

for BAD. 

UNCERTAIN. Make the sign for PERHAPS. 
UNDECIDED. Make the sign for PERHAPS. 
UNDERSTAND. Make the sign for KNOW. 
UNITE. Make the sign for WITH. 
UNLUCKY. Make the signs for MEDICINE and BAD. 
UP. Point upward with right index. 
US. Make the signs for ME, ALL. 
UTE Indian. Make sign for INDIAN and for BLACK, and rub the face as in RED. 



V 



VACCINATE. Make the signs for WHITES, MEDICINE, MAN, and with extended 
right index finger strike left arm between shoulder and elbow. 

VIGILANT. Make sign for LOOK, pointing in different directions and moving hand 
rapidly; then signs MUCH, SLEEP, NO. 

VILLAGE. Make sign for TEEPEE, and for MANY. 



W 



WAGON (meaning: wheels). Hold hands, backs down, at equal distance in front of 

body, four inches apart, index fingers curved, others and thumb closed; indicate 

motion of wheels by making small circle with indexes. 
WAGON (COVERED). Make the sign for WAGON; then hold both flat hands, 

backs up, indexes touching, height of face, and sweep them out and down in a 

curve to indicate wagon top. 

WAGON-ROAD. Make the signs for ROAD and WAGON. 
WAIT. Make sign for HALT, but more gently and not stopping abruptly. Repeat 

gesture. 
WALK (meaning: motion of feet). For a person, hold flat hands in front of body 

equally advanced; move right to front, upwards and downwards describing^ an 

oval circle; move left to front in same way; as left is brought down draw right 

hand to rear and repeat first motion, thereby alternating the motions of the feet. 

For an animal, close the hands and make same motions as above. 
WANT (meaning, give me). Hold the right hand close to chin back to right, form an 

unclosed circle with thumb and index, back of index at height of mouth, half inch 

space between tips of index and thumb, plane of circle vertical; move hand in slight 

curve downwards, outwards and upwards; turning hand by wrist action, ending 

with little finger as high as index. 
WAR. Make the sign for FIGHT. 
WAR BONNET. Carry the flat hands from front to rear, close to sides of head, 

fingers pointing upwards, palms toward head; then carry right hand from top of 

head well down to rear of body. 
WAR-CLUB. Show the size of war-club stone; denote rawhide covering of handle 

by clasping left index with right hand; then strike to front and down with right 

hand. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 




Line drawing shows beginning and dotted outline shows end of movement of hands 
Students must Compare Each Diagram with Explanation Found on Opposite Page 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 61 



WAR-DANCE. Make the signs for WAR, and DANCE. 

WARRIOR. Make the signs for MAN, and WAR. 

WASH. Make the sign for WATER; then by motions imitate the act of washing. 

WASTE. See DESTROY. 

WATCH. With thumb and index of left hand form a horizontal circle; then hold right 
index over same and move tip around the indicated circle; make sign fpr LOOK 
pointing at circle; make sign for KNOW, and for SUN all of which indicates size 
of watch, movement of hands by looking at same you will know where the Sun is. 

WATER (meaning: drinking out of palm of hand). Hold the cupped right hand, back 
down, in front of and little above mouth; fingers pointing to left and upwards; 
then move hand downwards, turning palm towards mouth. At end of RIVER or 
LAKE some Indians make the sign of dipping a handful of water with right cupped 
hand, held waist high. 

WE. Make the signs for I or ME and ALL. 

WEAK. Make signs for STRONG and NO. 

WHEN. Make the sign for QUESTION, for HOW MANY, and indicate whether 
SLEEPS, MOONS, or WINTERS. 

WHERE (meaning: what point). Make the sign for QUESTION, then point with 
right index in different directions. 

WHIP. With closed right hand strike from front to right and rear, as though riding 
a horse and whipping him with a quirt. 

WHISKEY. Make the signs for FIRE and WATER. 

WHITE. Make the sign for COLOR; then rub with tip of right index the small 
segment at upper end of left thumb nail, or point to something white. 

WHITES (meaning: cap wearers). Hold right hand to left of face on level of eyes, 
back up, index pointing to left; draw hand over to right side, index finger passing 
across above the eyes. 

WHITE MAN. Make the sign for WHITES and for MAN. 

WHY. Make the sign for INTERROGATE or QUESTION, but turn the hand very 
slowly. 

WICKEY-UP. Hold hands several inches apart in front of body, indexes extended 
and lapping; from this position change the hands, back up, edges pointing to front 
fingers separated and slightly curved, move hands downward on curve- 

WIFE. Make the signs for FEMALE and MARRY. 

WILD. Make the sign for BY ITSELF. 

WILL (meaning: I will). Make the sign for PUSH. 

WIND. Hold the hands with backs ^up, near body at height of shoulders, and with 
wavy motion move the hands in direction of the wind. 

WINTER. Hold up the closed hands in front of body, forearms vertical, hands several 
inches apart; then give a shivering, tremulous motion to hands. With most Indians 
a year is called a winter, or one cold. 

WIPED OUT. See EXTERMINATE. 

WISE (meaning: heart and head both good). Make the sign for HEART, touch fore- 
head, and make sign for GOOD. 

WITH. Hold flat left hand, back to left, in front; bring side of extended right index 
against center of left palm, index pointing to front. 

WOLF. Hold the right hand with palm outwards near right shoulder, first and second 
fingers extended and separated and pointing up; move the hand several inches to 
front and upwards. 

WOMAN. Make the sign for FEMALE and indicate height. 

WONDERFUL or MYSTERIOUS. Make the sign for MEDICINE. 

WOOD. Make the signs for TREE and CHOP. 

WOODPECKER. Make the sign for BIRD; then hold left forearm about vertical 
in front of left shoulder; now bring partially compressed right hand and place it 
near elbow of left forearm, right side; move hand with a jump to left side; then 
to little higher up, showing manner of hopping around a tree; then lower left hand 
and tap palm several times with tip of curved index of right hand. 

WORK Bring flat hands in front of body edgewise, few inches apart, right hand 
higher and back of left; then raise and lower the hands by wrist action, to indicate 
working. 

WOUND Hold right 1 hand in front of body; move hand briskly towards body, turn- 
ing index finger to left or right so that it grazes surface of body. 



62 INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE __ 

WRAP. Bring slightly compressed hands, backs outward, in front of body, backs of 

fingers of right hand resting against palm of left, fingers horizontal; then move 

hands around each other in rotary motion. 
WRITE. Hold flat left hand, back to front and down, out in front of body, fingers 

pointing to right; then as if with pencil between thumb and index of right hand, 

make as though writing on left palm. 



YEAR. Make the sign for WINTER, for this year add sign for NOW. 

YELLOW. Make the sign for COLOR; then point to something Yellow. 

YES (meaning: bowing the head and body). Hold right hand, back to right, in front 
of right breast, height of shoulder, index extended and pointing upwards, other 
fingers nearly closed, thumb resting on side of second finger; move the hand slightly 
to left and a little downwards, at same time closing index over thumb. 

YESTERDAY. Make sign for NIGHT; then, still holding left hand in position, sweep 
the right upwards and to right in a semi-circle, until it is at same height as left 
hand, terminating with back of hand down. 

YOU. Point right 1 hand at person addressed. 

YOUR or YOURS. Point to person indicated and make sign for POSSESSION. 



ONE WAY TO TELL YOUR NAME AND WHERE YOU LIVE 

The names of Indians were denoted by natural objects, birds, animals, etc., and were readily expressed 
in gesture. The writer has been asked how he would express the name "John Smith" in sign language. It was 
an Indian who suggested a good way whereby people of different tongues can tell each other their names and 
where they live. This is by asking as follows: "What is your name? Where do you live? Write it." Which 
in the sign language would be: QUESTION YOU CALLED, QUESTION YOU SIT, WRITE. 

As practically everybody can read and write they can in this way introduce themselves, and, after this, 
further conversation in sign is easy. This is of particular value to Boy Scouts of different tongues, as at 
the Jamboree. 

We know of many Boy Scouts who adopt Indian names, for use in their games, ceremonials, and 
conx'ersation. 



INDIAN MOONS OR MONTHS 



This work would be incomplete without some reference and information regarding 
the Indian "moons" or months. 

We have approached this subject with hesitation, because the Indian moons cor- 
respond only in a general way to our own months and with certain tribes the names vary 
greatly. 

The following moons, or months, are those adopted by the American Indian Asso- 
ciation after careful study, and are approved as being most nearly correct by Dr. Charles 
Eastman, Strong Wolf, Running Bear and other prominent Indians. Where two or 
more names are given for the same month, we have selected the one which can be ges- 
tured and pictured most easily, and is most generally used. 

JANUARY. Snow Moon (or Cold Moon), make signs for MOON and SNOW. 
FEBRUARY. Hunger Moon; make signs for MOON and HUNGRY. 
MARCH. Crow Moon (Awaking Moon or Warm Moon); make signs for MOON, 

BIRD and BLACK. 

APRIL. Grass Moon (Geese Moon); make signs for MOON and GRASS. 
MAY. Planting Moon (Flower Moon); make signs for MOON, DIG and GROW. 
JUNE. Rose Moon (Buck Moon); make signs for MOON and ROSE. 
JULY. Heat Moon (Blood Moon); make signs for MOON, SUN and HOT. 
AUGUST. Thunder Moon (Sturgeon Moon); make signs for MOON and THUNDER. 
SEPTEMBER. Hunting Moon (Corn Festival Moon); make signs for MOON and 

OCTOBER. Falling Leaf Moon (Traveling Moon); make signs for MOON and LEAF, 
with a falling motion. 

NOVEMBER. Beaver Moon (Mad Moon); make signs for MOON and BEAVER. 
DECEMBER. Long Night Moon; make signs for MOON, NIGHT, and LONG TIME. 

NOTE: The meaning and derivation of our common month names may be of interest 
for comparison: 1. January; Janus, a two-faced God. 2. February; To purify. 3. March; 
Mars, God of War. 4. April; Aperio, to open. 5. May; Maia, Goddess of Growth. 
6. June; Junms, a Roman Gentile name. 7. July; for Julius Caesar. 8. August- for 
Augustus Caesar. 9. September; seventh month. 10. October; eighth month.' 11 
November; ninth month. 12. December; tenth month. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE SIMPLIFIED 63 

SIGN LANGUAGE SIMPLIFIED 

The Indian Sign Language is the world's most easily learned language because it 
is elemental, basic, logical, and the signs in general are what should properly be made to 
illustrate the idea the language being largely idiomatic- conveying ideas. 

When you beckon with your finger you are saying the word COME; when you 
wave your hand outwards you say GO. When you point upwards with your index 
finger you say UP. When you point downwards you say DOWN. When you elevate 
the flat right hand, you say HIGH, and when you hold it down near the ground, you 
say LOW. 

All nations of earth have nodded the head for YES, and have shaken it for NO. 
If you will nod the right index finger beside the head, you say YES; and if, waist high, 
you simply turn the right hand over, you say NO. GOOD means "level with the heart," 
and, therefore, if you will swing the right flat hand out in a semi-circle from the heart 
towards the right you say the word GOOD. BAD means "thrown away." Therefore, 
the motion of expelling something downwards with the right hand 1 makes the word 
BAD. When you point your right thumb at your breast, you say ME. When you 
point your right index finger at the person you are with, you say YOU. When you 
point the same finger at someone else in the party, you say HIM or HER. 

When you point the separated first and second fingers of the right hand out in front 
of the eyes, you say SEE or LOOK. When you pass the partly closed right hand down- 
wards past the mouth, you say EAT or FOOD. When you elevate the cupped hand 
near the mouth, you say DRINK; and when, waist high, you make as though dipping 
a handful of something with cupped hand, you say WATER. 

The flat hands passed alternately one beyond the other means WALK, and the 
same sign made more rapidly means RUN. To incline the head to right, towards the 
palms of both hands, means SLEEP, and to pass the flat hand slightly outwards from 
the chin means SPEAK or TALK. To cup the right hand behind the right ear means 
to LISTEN. The right index finger pointed upwards beside the face means MAN, 
or "the upright one"; and to pass the slightly hooked fingers of the right hand down- 
wards over the hair means WOMAN, the basic conception being "she combs her hair." 
DAY means the opening up and NIGHT means the closing over, and the signs are 
simple and logical. (Pages 19 and 39.) 

The thumb and index finger of right hand held in an incomplete circle and pointed 
at the sky means SUN. The same sign held flat near the waist means MONEY a 
coin; the same sign with hand laid on the breast means a MEDAL, and if made against 
the left shoulder means a BRAND, while if tipped to the mouth like a cup it means 
WANT, or "I am thirsty for." 

The fingers curved and pointing up, held near the ground, naturally means GRASS. 
The same sign, waist high, means BRUSH, while one hand held out in front at height 
of shoulder, fingers all pointing up, means a TREE, both hands held similarly means 
a FOREST. The same two hands held close to the breast means PEOPLE. One fist 
held up out in front of breast means a MOUNTAIN, while both fists means a chain of 
MOUNTAINS. Counting is indicated by the fingers, starting with the little finger of 
right hand. 

As all articles and small qualifying adjectives are left entirely out this being a 
skeleton language of ideas a smaller vocabulary or code is used, the verbs and nouns 
being almost enough to convey the intelligence. Remember that 85% of all signs are 
made with the right hand. I believe the foregoing forty words will prove my opening 
statement that the language is entirely logical and elemental. I would suggest that you 
go over each of these words carefully, by checking them against the illustrations and 
their explanations in the book. 

Splendid results in the study of sign have been attained by those who, as they go 
along, occasionally have a session with someone else who is interested in sign. If you 
are in scouting, you might start with a few available scouts or scout masters, otherwise 
with a few friends, and meet with them once a week for a definite session for an hour or 
two. You will be surprised at the way the interest and inquiry thus caused will increase 



64 INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGESIMPLIFIED 

your own knowledge, and how quickly the others will commence to bring out ideas that 
will greatly help you. After one or two meetings of the little club, require everybody 
to make up and bring to the next meeting some short phrases or sentences in the sign 
language. Working carefully along these lines you will undoubtedly be gratified at the 
advancement you will make. 



TWO HUNDRED SIGNS IN MOST GENERAL USE 



YES, NO, GOOD, BAD, COME, GO, WATER, EAT, DRINK, SEE, UP, DOWN, 
HIGH, LOW, ALL, ME, YOU, HIM, ME-ALL (Us or We), YOU-ALL (Ye), 
HIM-ALL (They), WALK, RUN, SLEEP, SMALL, FEW, BIG, BUY OR SELL, 
EXCHANGE, TRADE, STOP, WAIT, HOUSE, TEEPEE, TEN, COUNTING, 
QUESTION, WAGON, WANT, WRITING, READING, HUNT, SPEAK, LISTEN, 
LIE, LOOK, LITTLE TALK, SPEECH, TREE, NOW, FOREST, MAN, WOMAN, 
BOY, GIRL, WHITE MAN, NEGRO, INDIAN, HORSE, MEDICINE, CRAZY, 
WORK, YEAR, STEAL, FISH, SNAKE, SMELL, BREAKFAST, DINNER, SUP- 
PER, STRONG, BRAVE, HARD, PERHAPS, CONSIDER, MOTHER, FATHER, 
MOUNTAIN, MOUNTAINS, HEAP, CALLED, TIME, LONG TIME, BEFORE. 
AFTER, RIVER, NIGHT, DAY, COFFEE, LOVE, FOND, SUN, GOOD MORN- 
ING, GOOD EVENING, GAP (Mountain), MANY TIMES, TOWN OR CITY, 
EVERY LITTLE WHILE, PRISONER, WINTER OR YEAR, SIGN LANGUAGE, 
MORNING, NOON, EVENING, ABUSE, ACROSS^ AFTERNOON, ALL GONE, 
AMONG, ANGRY, ARROW, ASTONISH, BEAR, BEAVER, BESIDE, WITH, TO- 
GETHER, BIRD, BLANKET, BOAT, BROOK, BROTHER, BUFFALO, CAMP, 
CANNOT, CHEYENNE, CHIEF, COLD, COLOR, COUNCIL, CROW, CRY, 
DANCE, DEER, DOG, DONE, EATEN ENOUGH, EFFORT, ELK, END, 
ESCAPE, EXPLAIN, FIRE, FLAG, GIVE, GIVE ME, GRASS, GROW, HALF, 
HALF BREED, HEART, HIDE, HOLE, HOW MANY, HUNGRY, JEALOUS, 
KEEP, KNIFE, KNOW, LAKE, LAUGH, LEAF, MANY, MUCH, MEDAL, 
MEMORY, METAL, MIRROR, MONEY, MOON, MOTOR CAR, MY OR MINE, 
POSSESSION, NEZ PERCE, OLD, OWL, PAWNEE, PEOPLE, PIPE, POOR, 
POOR IN FLESH, PORTRAIT, POWDER, PRAIRIE, PRIVATE TALK, PUSH, 
RAIN, RATTLESNAKE, RED, RING, ROPE, SHARP, SICK, SILENT, SING, 
SIOUX, SIT OR REMAIN, SNOW, SOLDIER, SPOTTED, STAR, STRIPED 
SWIM, TASTE, THINK, THICK, THIN, TOBACCO, TOGETHER, UNDER- 
STAND, WAR, BEYOND, 



AN INDIAN BLESSING 

May the Great Mystery make sunrise in your heart: GREAT MYSTERY WORK 
SUNRISE YOUR HEART. 



BOY SCOUT OATH EXPRESSED IN IDIOM 

(The text of the oath is in lower case, the sign language version is in capitals.) 



A i. I wil1 do m y es 

UATH (God sees my hands, they are clean) I EFFORT _ WORK 

to do my duty to God an( j mv CO untrv 

GOOD-WITH-GOD WITH-MY-COUNTRY 

^^ obey the scout law. To help other people at all times 

OBEY-SCOUT-LAW, I-WORK-WITH-ALL-PEOPLE-OFTEN 

To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake 

I-KEEP-ME^STRONG 
and morally straight. 
HEARTGOOD. 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



The following are a few examples of sentence formation, illustrating some of 
the Indian idiomatic construction and forms of sentence construction generally. Cer- 
tain liberties of modern usage have been taken, such as the word "supper", which an 
old-time Indian would not have used. First we give the sentence with modern English 
construction, carrying the idea to be conveyed. Then in rotation are shown the signs 
to be made. Then in capitals we show the same thought, as interpreted in the idioms 
of sign language. 



What is your name ? 




QUESTION - YOU - CALLED 



I am hungry and want something to eat 





I -HUNGRY - FOOD- WANT 



Where u vour home.? 






lam going home. 





QUE5TION-YOU- POSSESSION -HOUSE 



- GO - HOUSE 



How old are you ? 





Ijeel very sad. 





QUESTION- HOW MANY-YOU -WINTER 



w 

c^g^'-- 3 

-HEART-ON-THE-GROUND 



The man became very old 




I have noi seen you for a long time. 





MAM- MUCH-OLD-AR RIVE -THERE 



LONG TIME - 5EE - MOT 



Where do i/oa lire ? 

rift 

't 




^-^... 

QUESTION - YOU - SIT 




Have you. had your supper ? 




Where is your horse? 




~-< 




QUE5TION-YOU -EAT- SUNSET 



QUESTION-POSSESSION- HORSE 



Turn to Pages 93, 94, 95 and 96 for Further Examples of Sentence Formation. 



66 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



Where are you. going {odea/? 




QUE5TIOIN-YOU-GO- DAY -NOW 



/ am going to make camp. 



- MAKE -CAMP 



V/hatdoyoa do at camp?. 





I build a fire. 



QUE5TION-YOU-WORK-CAMP 



/**?// 
sjff 

I - MAKE - FIRE 



I make coffee . 



/ set up a tent. 





I - MAKE - COFFEE 



- ARISE - TEEPEE 



/ chop wood . 





I make -supper. 




I -CHOP- WOOD 



I-MAKE-EAT-5UN5ET 



I go walking. 
- GO- WALK 




I go catck fish. 



I - GO-TAKE-FISH 



/ go swtmmmg. 




I - GO - 5WIM 



/ go hunting. 



-GO - HUNT 




/ see deer, bear, wolf. 





/ have a good time. 



& 






I - SEE- DEER;BEAR-,WOLF 




I-P055E55IOM-HEART-5UMRI5E 



Turn to Pages 93, 94, 95 and 96 for Further Examples of Sentence Formation. 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



Who u/as that Indian /sans you with to day. 
mm ~-^%^ /B^/ -\^ ^H 






QUESTION INDIAN I SEE YOU WITH DAY NOW 



his name is Little Beaver , he is a brwe man. 








ME CALLED LITTLE BEAVER HE HEART STRONG 



/ understand Two Owls lost a good horse some time ago. 






KNOW TWO OWLS GOOD HORSE GO HIDE LONGTIME 



/ went io the mountains with Big Bear and shoi 5 deer. 

_ -^ .oi 



i-3$ 




I GO MOUNTAINS WITH BIG BEAR SHOOT 5 DEER 



Did you. go over the Big Elk river fo hunt. 





i 



QUESTION YOU GO ACR05S BIG ELK RIVER HUNT 



Yes we swam iwo of oar hones across the river. 






YE5 ME ALL 5WIH 2 HORSE ACROSS RIVER 



We met many Jrbux /ndians in Council. 



? 



ME ALL~HEET MANY SIOUX INDIANS SIT COUNCIL 





Turn to Pages 93, 94, 95 and 96 for Further Examples of Sentence Formation. 



68 INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE SYNONYMS 



SYNONYMS 



Words of Similar Meaning to Basic Word Signs Contained in the Foregoing Work 

ABANDONED divorced, thrown away, displaced, deserted, forsaken. 

ABOARD sitting down, on top of. 

ABUSE Scold, ill-treat, upbraid, defame, detract. 

ACCOMPANY with, escort. 

ACCOST hail, salute, interrogate. 

ACHE physicial pain, sick. 

ACROSS on the other side of, to cross, to pass over. 

ADD join, increase, put to. 

ADVANCE move, march. 

ADVANCE GUARD scout, before, ahead, toremost, to be in front. 

AFRAID shrink from, cowardly, suspicious, temerity, dread, nervous, fearful. 

AFRAID OF NO ONE brave, courageous, lion-hearted, fearless. 

AFTER since, by and by, later. 

AID assist, counsel, advice, help. 

AIM, TO point at. 

ALIGHT dismount. 

ALIKE same, even. 

ALIVE living, above ground, breathing. 

ALL GONE wiped out, consumed. 

ALLIANCE co-operation, confederacy, league. 

AMBITIOUS aspire after, long for, desire, crave. 

AMONG in the midst of, commingle. 

ANCESTORS progenitors, forefathers. 

ANGRY mad, rageful, savage, quarrelsome, ill-tempered, passionate. 

ANNIHILATE destroy. 

ANNOY disturb, agitate, trouble. 

APPAREL dress, clothing. 

ARISE start up, rise. 

ARRANGE plan, settle, adjust. 

ARREST seize. 

ARRIVE HERE reach here, come to a place, return 

ASCEND climb. 

ASHAMED humbled, abashed, diffident, mortified. 

ASTONISH surprise, astound, awe. 

ASTRAY lost, deceived, wander. 

ATTACK assault, storm, fall upon, march against, advance against, fire at. 

ATTEMPT try, endeavor, strive. 

AVOID shun, pass by, elude. 

BACON fat, greasy. 

BAD mean, wrong, vile, detestable. 

BARRACKS soldiers' house. 

BASHFUL diffident, modest, youthful, shy, timid. 

BASIN buffalo-wallow. 

BATTLE volley firing, engagement. 

BEAUTIFUL good face, fine, handsome, pretty. 

BEFORE (in time) prior to, previously, anterior. 

BELOW beneath, under. 

BET wager, gamble, raffle, stake. 

BEYOND other side of. 

BIG great, wide, large, broad. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGESYNONYMS 69 

BITTER unpalatable, unsavory, nasty, ill-flavored, sour. 

BLESS YOU thank, pray for, gratitude. 

BOIL, TO bubble, stew, cook. 

BRAND, TO mark, figure. 

BRAVE fearless, daring, bold, heroic. 

BREAK sunder, rend. 

BRING fetch. 

BROAD wide. 

BROOK small stream. 

BURN consume. 

BURY rite, sepulture. 

BUY purchase, procure, bargain. 

BY AND BY wait. 

CACHE conceal, hide away. 

CALL to name, known as, summon, cry out, invite. 

CAMP village, bivouac. 

CANDID sincere, honorable, frank, open, straightforward, undisguised. 

CANNOT impossible, will not do, beyond power. 

CANYON gorge, defile, chasm, gap. 

CHARGE assault, attack, onslaught, storm. 

CHEAT steal, fraud, deceit. 

CHIEF leader, headman, partisan, great, distinguished, renowned, famous. 

CHILD youth, progeny, issue, offspring. 

CHOP cut up, hew, divide. 

CLOSE near, internate, compact, compress. 

COLD chill, frigid. 

COLOR tinge, hue, stain. 

COME approach, draw near. 

COMMENCE begin. 

CONCEAL cover, disguise, secrete, hide. 

CORRAL enclosure. 

OOUNCIL^-meeting. 

COUNT numeration. 

COWARD poltroon, dastard. 

CRAZY mad, foolish, doting, flighty. 

CROSS sulky, ill-tempered. 

CROSS (to) ford, go over. 

CRY shed tears, desire, suffer. 

CUNNING subtle, sly, wily. 

DECEIVE lead astray. 

DEFAME slander, villify. 

DEFY hatred, abhorance, defiance, threaten. 

DESTROY waste, demolish. 

DIE expire, depart. 

DISGUST weary, dislike. 

DISTANT remote, far away. 

DISTRIBUTE give, divide. 

DIVE plunge. 

DO work, act, attend to. 

DOCTOR medicine-man, physician, priest, juggler. 

DRESS apparel, clothing. 

DUMB mute, silent, still. 

EFFORT trial, attempt, essay. 
ELOPE steal. 



70 INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE SYNONYMS 

END finish, close, stop. 
ENEMY foe. 
EQUAL same, even. 
ESCAPE elude, evade. 

EXCHANGE trade, barter, bargain, purchase, sell, dispose of, traffic. 
EXTERMINATE destroy, wipe out, eradicate, consume, sweep away, ravage, annihi- 
late, extinguish. 

FAME renowned, celebrated. 

FAST swift, pass by. 

FEAST meal, repast 

FEW' compressed, close, crowded, near together. 

FIGHT skirmish, outbreak, battle, encounter. 

FINISHED ended, done. 

FIX settle, arrange, determine. 

FOND love, regard, liking. 

FOOL stupid, unwise, indiscreet, rash, silly. 

FOREST timber. 

FORGET lost. 

FORT barracks, post, garrison. 

FRAGRANT perfume, sweet-smelling, balmy. 

FRIEND companion, comrade, partner. 

GALLOP lope, canter, ride. 

GAP mountain pass, depression, defile, ravine. 

GENEROUS good-hearted, big-hearted, liberal, hospitable, noble. 

GIVE grant, bestow. 

GLAD heart good. 

GLOOMY sad. 

GO depart, leave. 

GOD mystery, medicine. 

GRAVE tomb, burial-place. 

GREAT wide, broad, large. 

HAIL ice, sleet. 

HALT stop, pause, stand still. 

HANG (to) suspend, pendant from. 

HARD difficult, firm, brave, unfeeling, inexorable. 

HEAP mound. 

H EAR attention. 

HEAVY weighty. 

HELP work with, assist, support. 

HIDE (to) secretly, privately, confidentially, lost, hidden away. 

HOLD detain, stop, limit, keep, retain. 

HOMELY bad face. 

HUNT search, look for. 

HURRY hasten, expedite. 

IMPOSSIBLE cannot. 

IMPRISON confine, lock up, bind. 

INCREASE augment. 

INFERIOR lower, behind, minor, subordinate, secondary. 

INJURE harm, hurt. 

INTERROGATE question, attract attention, ask, inquire, examine. 

JEALOUS envious. 

JOKE sport. 

JOYOUS glad, light-hearted. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE SYNONYMS 71 

KEEP remember, hold on to, retain, guard, keep close, near. 
KEEP QUIET fear not, quiet down. 
KNOW understand, comprehend. 

LARGE great, capacious. 

LAST hindmost. 

LIE to mistake, invent, false, fabrication, fiction. 

LIKE same, even, similar, resemble. 

LISTEN hear, pay attention to. 

LITTLE minute. 

LIVE reside, dwell, exist. 

LONG TIME always. 

LOOK inspect, see, view, behold. 

LOVE esteem, liking, affection. 

MANY crowd, numerous, host, much. 
MANY TIMES often, repeat. 

MEAN small-hearted, stingy, selfish, miserly, penurious, shabby, greedy, rapacious, 
sordid, niggardly, low. 

MEDICINE mysterious, unknown, holiness, luck, vision, dream, fortune, chance. 
MEDICINE-MAN physician, prophet, juggler, dreamer, priest, magician, conjurer, 

seer, wizard, soothsayer, charmer. 
MEET (to) come together. 
MEMORY heart knows. 
METAL hard. 
MIGRATE move. 
MINGLE mix. 

MISLEAD deceive, lead astray. 
MISS (to) pass by, 
MIX blend, mingle. 
MONEY currency, cash, specie. 
MOURN grieve, cry for, lament, bewail 
MOVE march 

NAME called, cognomen. 

NEAR close by, contiguous, adjacent. 

NOTIFY tell, talk to. 

NOW present time, today. 

OATH Vow, to swear. 

OBEY listen to, pay attention to. 

OLD decrepit, aged, infirm. 

PACK place. 

PARADE troops. 

PART half. 

PARTNER brother, comrade. 

PAYMASTER money chief. 

PEACE truce. 

PEAK apex, summit, tip, crest. 

PEOPLE persons. 

PERHAPS to be possible, may be, doubtful, contingent. 

PICKET fasten. 

PITY (to pity some one else) sympathize, compassion, mercy, tender. 

PLANT to farm. 

POOR poverty, indigence, want, distress, destitute, pinched. 

POOR emaciated, weak, sinewless, wasted, leanness, puny, thin, starved, shrunk, skinny. 

POSSESSION ownership. 



72 INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGESYNONYMS 

PRAIRIE plains. 

PRAY supplicate, ask, beg, request, petition, demand, implore, entreat, address, impor- 
tune. 

PRIVATE secretly, confidentially, in confidence, sacredly. 
PROUD vain, conceited. 
PUSH must, try. 

QUARREL scold, disputatious. 
QUIET DOWN subdue, silence. 

RACE to run, contest. 

RAPIDS swift-flowing waters. 

RASH foolish, brave, reckless, careless, adventurous 

REACH arrive there. 

RECOVER restore. 

REMAIN stay. 

REMEMBER hold on to. 

RESTRAIN hold, confine, restrict. 

RETREAT flee from, escape. 

RING finger ornament. 

RISING MAN chief. 

RIVER stream. 

ROAD trail, way, route, pack, course. 

ROCK hard. 

ROPE cord, line. 

RUN AGAINST stumble. 

SACRED divine, holy, mysterious. 

SAD mournful, dejected, disappointed. 

SADDLE (to) to pack. 

SAME equal. 

SAW cut. 

SCOLD quarrel, find fault with. 

SCOUT advance-guard, picket, sentinel. 

SCOUT (to) search, watch, to trail, follow, hunt. 

SEARCH examine, scrutiny. 

SEE look. 

SEIZE grasp, imprison, find. 

SEPARATE diverge, branch off, to part, wander from. 

SEW fasten, stitch, tack. 

SHARP cutting edge, edge-tool. 

SHAWL wrap. 

SHEEP big-horn. 

SHOOT fire at, discharge. 

SICK ill, infirm, indisposed, suffer, diseased. 

SILENT dumb, close one's mouth, taciturn. 

SINCE after. 

SIT here, remain, stay, wait, rest. 

SLEEP rest, lie down. 

SLOW loiter, behindhand. 

SMALL short, low. 

SMOOTH even, level. 

SOFT miry. 

SOUR acid, tart. 

SPEAK talk, tell, say, relate. 

SPY scout, hunt, look. 

STINGY mean, penurious. 



INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGESYNONYMS 73 

STOP halt, wait. 

STRAIGHT true, direct 

STRONG brave, vigorous, hearty, powerful. 

SUPERIOR greater, higher, above. 

SURROUND encircle, concentrate. 

TAKE appropriate, capture, catch, dispossess, confiscate, seize. 

TALK converse, speak, tell. 

TASTE flavor, sapidity. 

TATTOO mark. 

TEPEE lodge, wigwam, tent. 

THERE at that place. 

THINK believe, opine, look upon, regard. 

THREAD line. 

TIMBER forest, trees. 

TIRED weary, fatigued, postrated, faint, exhausted, overtasked. 

TRACK footprint. 

TRADER storekeeper, salesman. 

TRAIL (to) follow, search, look for, pursue, hunt. 

TROUBLE anxious, disturbed, restless, annoyed. 

TRUE straightforward, honest, reliable, candid. 

UGLY bad face, ill-favored, repulsive. 
UNCERTAIN doubtful, precarious. 
UND ERSTAND know. 
UNLUCKY unfortunate, bad. 

VIGILANT attention, heedful, watchful. 
VILLAGE camp, town. 

WANT wish, desire. 

WATCH time-piece. 

WEAK tired, feeble. 

WHEN at what time. 

WHERE at what place. 

WHISKEY liquor. 

WHITES people not indigenous to America. 

WICKEY-UP temporary shelter, 

WIPED OUT exterminated. 

WISE shrewd, sagacious, sharp, clever, keen, sound, long-headed. 

WRAP fold, pack up. 



LOCATION OF EAST AND WEST IN SIGN LANGUAGE 

In determining the points of the compass, the Indian associates his left side with the 
East, his right side with the West. This is explained by Garrick Mallery as follows: 

"A gesture sign for sunrise, morning, is: Forefinger of right hand crooked in incom- 
plete circle and pointed or extended to the left, then slightly elevated. In this connection 
it may be noted that when the gesture is carefully made in open country the pointing 
would generally be to the East, and the body turned so that its left would be in that 
direction. In a room in a city, or under circumstances where the points of the compass 
are not clearly understood, the left side supposes the East, and the gestures relating to 
sun, day, etc., are made with such reference." 



74 SIOUX AND OJIBWAY PICTOGRAPHY 

PICTOGRAPHY AND IDEOGRAPHY OF THE 

SIOUX AND OJIBWAY TRIBES OF 

NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS 



It is hoped that the following very brief treatise on the Pictographic writing of the 
American Indians, will excite interest in that branch of study by all boys and girls and 
others who are interested in anthropological research. 

The attentions and investigations of the author have been for a long time devoted 
to pictography and to sign language, two studies so closely connected that neither can 
be successfully pursued to the exclusion of the other. 

The depiction of gesture and posture signs is considered in more than a general 
way, showing the intimate relation between a thought as expressed without words by 
signs, and a thought expressed without words by pictures, sometimes corresponding to 
those signs. 

Picture writing is a mode of expressing thoughts, or noting facts, by marks. It is 
one distinctive form of thought writing without reference to sound gesture language 
being the earlier form. Picture writing should be studied as a phase in the evolution 
of human culture. 

While not specifically reported in history it is thought from general evidence that 
picture writing preceded and generated the graphic systems of Egypt, Assyria and 
China, but in North America its use is still current. It can be studied here without in- 
ference or hypothesis, in actual existence, as applied to records and communications. 
In this connection it should be noted that picture writing is found in sustained vigor 
on this continent the same continent where sign language has prevailed and has con- 
tinued in active operation to an extent historically unknown in other parts of the world. 

Petroglyphs, or rock carvings, are most frequently found in those parts of the 
world which are still, or recently have been, inhabited by savage or barbarian tribes, 
who, when questioned about the authorship of rock drawings, generally attributed them 
to supernatural beings. Man has invariably attributed to supernatural action whatever 
he did not understand. 

Authorities are disagreed as to whether sign language, which is closely connected 
with picture writing, preceded articulate speech. It is sufficient to admit the undoubted 
antiquity of thought writing in both its forms. 

Investigation has proven the interesting psychologic fact that primitive or at least 
very ancient man made the same figures in widely separated regions, though it is not 
established that the same figures had a common significance. The modern specimens 
of picture writing shown on skins, bark and pottery, are far more readily interpreted 
than those on rocks, and have already afforded verification as to points of history, re- 
ligion, customs and other details. American pictographs are not to be regarded as 
mere curiosities, but rather as representing the only intellectual remains of the early 
inhabitants, and bearing significantly upon the evolution of the human mind. 

A knowledge of Indian customs, costumes, histories and traditions is, of course, 
essential to the understanding of their drawings. It is probable that many were in- 
tended to commemorate events which to their authors were of moment, but would be 
of little importance as history. 

Though the picture writings do not, and probably never will, disclose the kind of in- 
formation hoped for by some enthusiasts, they surely are valuable in marking the steps 
in one period of human evolution, and in presenting evidence of man's early practices. 
The word signs presented in this work are of both ancient and modern American 
origin, and found either as petroglyphs, or rock carvings; petrographs, or rock writings; 
or as pictographs or writings on skins, bark, pottery, etc. 

Petroglyphs and pictographs have been found and catalogued from the pyramids 
of Egypt to India, from Australia to Brazil, from Japan to Scotland, and in Mexico, 



SIOUX AND OJIBWAY PICTOGRAPHY 75 

and in many cases have handed down important traditional history of the times and 
peoples represented. 

More distinctive examples of evolution in ideography and in other details of pic- 
ture writing are found still extant among the Dakota (or Sioux) Indians, than among 
any other North American tribes. 

The pictographic symbols used in this codification are taken from some of the most 
important known pictographs of the North American Indians. The classification and 
correlation of the matter collected has required more effort than is apparent, because the 
sources of information are so meager. 

The more modern forms are explained by Indians who have kept up the pictographic 
practice, and these frequently throw light upon the more ancient. 

This simple work is prepared for those men who desire brief, preliminary informa- 
tion on the subject, and does not assume to be anything further than that. During a 
series of lectures given by the author on sign language and pictography he was greatly 
impressed with the general lack of any knowledge on the subject, but most of all with 
the deep and kindly interest displayed by thousands of people in picture writing, which 
suggested the advisability of including a brief outline of some of the most generally 
used symbols. 

Again, it is done in the hope that it will prove of interest and value to the youth 
of the United States, and develop in them an earnest desire for further study and re- 
search along this line. 

Many of the pictographs herein contained are from the 10th annual report of the 
Bureau of American Ethnology, by Lieut-Col. Garrick Mallery, 1888, and from his- 
torical information of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, prepared by Henry R. Schoolcraft, 
1851, and from other similar authoritative sources. 

THE AUTHOR. 



Longfellow was deeply interested in pictography, and gave the best and briefest 
description of nine symbols that has ever been compiled. It is given in the following 
verse from Hiawatha. 

"For the earth he drew a straight line, 
For the sky a bow above it; 
White the space between for day-time, 
Filled with little stars for night-time; 
On the left a point for sunrise, 
On the right a point for sunset, 
On the top a point for noontide, 
And for rain and cloudy weather 
Waving lines descending from it." 



There is no doubt but, that gesture language has had an immense use and value in 
the past. The question now arises as to whether or not its usefulness is gone. Has man- 
kind so far advanced that he can entirely disregard the refinements of primitive man? As 
an argument to the contrary we might offer the following: 

When the obelisk of Luxor was installed in Paris, and the best minds of that modern 
nation were called on to determine in what manner they should inscribe the record of the 
Paris of today, did they do it in the current French language? Did they do it in Greek 
or Latin? No, they inscribed it in primitive pictography, so that future generations 
countless thousands of years from now, when the French and Greek and Latin lan- 
guages are gone and forgotten, can readily read the inscriptions made at this time. 



76 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 




American 




Antelope 



Arrow 



T 1 



Bad 




Bear dlive 





Bear dead 



Bear sad hedr 



Bear glad 



Bedver 



Bedver in bis 






BedverTdii 



Big V&i 



'oice 



Bird TracJc 



BlaclcDeer 




Headless Bodies 



Bo wand Arrow 



Bo' 



Brother, 



BufEato 




White Buffalo 



Indian Camp 



Cdnoe 



Canoe and warriors 



Cheyenne 




Cloud 



Cold and Snow 



Come or Call for 



Plenfy Corn 



ougJh 







row 



Crow 



Dance 



Council 



Crane 



)c=Lkoia or Sioux 



)dkotd5 

beyennes 
Peace 





Deer 



Death 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 



77 



- 



Deer , Moose 




Direction 




Discovery 



Duck 






Eagle 



Eagle Tail 



Encampment 



Evening 1 




H 




Famine 



Fear 



Fear 



Fire 



Camp Fire 




Grave Flag 



zr 

Plenfy Foodi 




Hi 

Fort 









Fox 



Blcack Fox 



Froze to Death 



Girl 



Goods 







Goose 



Grasp 



Gun 



White Hawk 







Hard 



Hear 



Hil: 



Hor^e 



Spotted Horse 



o n A n 
n n n o 



Horse Tracks 





Hungry 




Stole Horses 



Fast Horse 



RopesHorses* 



78 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 




Hunt 



A A 



Island 




Knife 



Lake 



Wild Horse 





Leggings 



Life 



LigMning 



Lynx 



n 



Man on horse back 






Man holding gu 



Man 



Man 



\ t 





Tall wMe man 



Wise Man 



Man Grieve.5 





Man Jnolding bow 



Man dt5dbled 




Mdnddn 



Measlea 





Medicine Man 



Medicine leepee 




Medicine Loddb 



Medicine Man 




Medicine Man 



Pleniy 



Moon, night .sun 



W~n 



A 
A 



Morning. 5unr i se 



Moose 



Mountain 



Negation 






NigW: 



Noon 



Omaha Induar 



Old 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 



79 



fH 



Making Pedce 




Pipe 




Pipe 



Pipe 




Thunder Pipe 




Medicinal Plants 



Porcupine 






Power 



Prisoners 



JdckRdbbil: 



fftTfHfo 



Pain and Cloudy 





Ran 



Rattle Snake 



Rest- 



River 






River Fight 



River Flood 



Road 



See 






Shell 



Mountain Goat- 



5ky 



Smallpox 



Snake 







Deep SDOW 



Socicability 



Soldier 




o 




Spotted Face 



Spirit- 



Bad SpintMedicme 



Great* Spirit 
Everywhere 





Storm and Windy 



It StruJc 








i- Starvation" 



80 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 



5unrise 



5 unset 





5un 



f 



Swallow 



o o 







Talk 



Talk together 



Teepee ^l-^- 1 
Man Reached! 




Teepee 



Thirty 





x 



Thunder bird 



Tree 



Same Tn be 



Track 



Trade 





Treaty 



Tomahawk 



Top Man 



Three Years 



Wading Birds 



Walked, passed 




War Bonnet 






ing WdrBrty 



War 



Wear 




Water Carrier 



Calling for Rain 



Weather Clear 




WealLer 5tormy 



Whirlwind 




Horse 
(White Mans) 






White Beaver 



White Hawk 



White Man 



Whooping Cough 





Wind 



Wolf 



Woman 



Woman 



Winler 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 



81 




CactlLS 



all 



Canyon 



t 



Christian 




Corn 





Dead 






Drum and^tick 



Drurrutick 



Earth Lodge 



Geese 



w tf ;/////// 



Grass 




Stone Hammer 



I did it. 



(in 



Hidden ,OI)3curft 



A 




House, 



I or Me 





Inspired 



Meteor. 



Moon (new Hung^ 



Moon (reached half] 



o 



MOOTX (full) 






Mouse 



Old. 



Otter. 



Prayer. 



Prisoner, 




moon 

4- 

sun 





Singing 



Snow. 



Rising 3un. 








Supplication 



Talk ( intense). 



Thunder Bird 



Travoia. 



Old Tree 







Turkey 



Turtle. 



Walk. 



War. 



Wood-5, 



82 



PICTOGRAPHS AND IDEOGRAPHS 




Ho IcUtte Arrows 




Little Dog 




Hig.h Eagle 




Caught tine E nemy 




Spotted Elk 






ief. .Standing Bear 



Drags the Rope 







Bi/ Chief 



Swimming 5 



Loud Talker 



lakes Prisoner 



The above twelve pictographs represent proper names of Indians. 




LvtHeEik_ size 
15 indicdted by the 
relative proportion. 




Food was scarce 
dnd tiiey had to 
lixre on acorns 
Cloud Shields winter 
count for year 1787 




Your own tongue 

kill you !! 

Bitter words denoted 
by an arrow pointed 
towards himself. 



-o-oo- 

Two ways of 
expressing 1 lime. 
A circle represents 
one yedr, edoh device 
represents 3 



PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 



83 




SNOW 

MOON 

January 




HUNGER 

MOON 

February 




CROW 
MOON 

Marck 




GRA55 
MOON 

April 




PLANTING 
MOON 

May 




ROSE 
MOON 

June 




MEAT 

MOON 

July 







THUNDER 
MOON 
Augush 



HUNTING 
MOON 

vSeptember 



FALLING LEAF 
MOON 
Ociober 



BEAVER 

MOON 
November 



LONG NIGHT 

MOON 

December 



A PICTOGRAPHIC STORY FOR OUR YOUNG FRIENDS 



Here is a story that might be entitled, "Sioux Bros., Arrow Makers." It is told 
in the pictography of the Sioux and Ojibways. 

To read this story, which is written on a hide, the reader begins in the center and 
reads to the left, following the circular course to the end. 

This story begins with the two men, who by virtue of the connecting line between 
them, are brothers. Followed by an Indian and an arrow, they are arrow makers. 

Next conies a series of lines illustrating tracks; so they "make tracks,"* or "go" 
to those three peaks which are obviously mountains. The head with the line going 
from the eye indicates that they are looking. Looking for what? For arrow head, 
or by implication, for material with which to make arrow heads. The story so- far, 
therefore, would read: 

"Two brothers, Indian arrow makers, went to the mountains to look for material 
for arrows." 

It is implied that they found the needed rock, for the story goes on to say they 
built a fire those three crossed sticks with flame about them, on the mountain to 
heat the rock. Then the figure of the man with the pail in his hand indicates that they 
poured water on the rock. 

The next symbol is a "cache" a mound or hiding place in which many -things 
are kept. This symbol is used to indicate "many." On heating the rock it broke up so 
they could get at the unweathered or underlying flint. The story therefore continues: 

"They found a flint outcrop, heated the. rock, poured water on it and thereby removed 
the weathered outer layer. They then obtained many pieces of good flint, which they 
made into arrowheads." 

"They found a flint-rock, lit a big fire, heated the rock, carried water and poured 
it on the rock, and it burst into many pieces suitable for arrowmaking." 

Then comes the sign indicating "to see," with the line pointing at a tree (from 
which they could obtain wood for arrows). Then follows an arrow pointing to an 
eagle, indicating that they then shot an eagle, which they killed for the eagle Is 
repeated, lying on its side. In others words, "They shot and killed an eagle to 
obtain feathers for the arrows." 

After this, they "make tracks'" again, and come to a lake, in which they catch a 
fish. The figure of the man with his hand to his mouth tells that they ate the fish. 
Again they "make tracks'* until they come to their home, or teepee. Freely trans- 



84 



PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 



lated, "They started for home and came to a lake where they caught a fish, and, after 
eating it, they went on until they reached home."' 

Next we see two Indians, one of them a chief, as indicated by the feather in his 
hair, surrounded by a lot of lines. These lines are other Indians sitting in a circle, 
and the whole is the picture of a council. The. next pictures tell the reason for the 
council; a Cheyenne (Cheyennes are "finger choppers") with a lariat, a horse arid a 
number of horse hoofs, indicates that a Cheyenne had stolen some of their horses. 

Three lines followed by a sun indicates that the council lasted three days, after 
which they joined hands made peace and smoked the pipe of peace. The story 
therefore concludes: 

"They found a council in session on account of trouble with the Cheyennes, due 
to the fact that a Cheyenne had stolen some of their horses. The council was held 
for three days, and resulted in their making peace with the Cheyennes, after which 
they smoked the pipe of peace and everybody was happy." 




PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 



85 




The characters in these pictographic stories are arranged in a spiral formation, the 
course of the spiral being from right to left, starting from right center and reading back- 
wards. This form is used in Lone Dogs' Winter Count and certain other famous Sioux 
documents. 



Interpretation of Above Pictographic Story 

An Indian trader by the name of Little Crow went on a journey. He traveled for 
three nights until he came to a river. The reason he traveled at night was because he 
was in enemy country. At the river he secured a canoe, camped there that evening, 
and at sunrise the next morning started down the river and traveled two suns (days). 
He now traveled in daytime, because he was in friendly territory. He was an Indian 
trader in shells, which were used for wampum and ornamentation. At the end of the 
fifth day's travel he reached the village where the shells were obtainable. He rested 
there for three days in conference with the chief, and as a result he traded for a large 
amount of shells, and at sunrise on the fourth day he loaded his canoe and started down 
the river and traveled for two days. On the second day a storm came up, with rain 
and lightning. He saw the lightning strike a tree and set it afire. As a result of the 
storm he became sick, so he searched and found some medicinal plants and waited 
there a couple of days until he felt better. He then traveled at night and hid away in 
the day time. He knew that the country abounded in game because he heard foxes 
and wolves. He finally reached home, though some days late. Twenty braves of the 
tribe came out to meet him, including their chief, Standing Bean Their hearts were 
glad as a result of his safe and successful trip, and they all had a very sociable time. 



86 



PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 




Interpretation of Above Pictographic Story 

An Indian and his wife had a quarrel; he wanted to go hunting and she did not 
want him to go. He gave the sign of negation, would not do what she wanted, and he 
took his bow and arrows and started into the forest A snow storm came upon him and 
he looked for shelter. He saw two teepees, went over to them, but found that they 
contained two people who were sick, in one teepee a boy with the measles, in the other 
teepee a man with the smallpox. He ran away as fast as he could and shortly came to 
a river. He saw some fish in the river, so he caught a fish, ate it, and rested there for 
two days. After that he started out again and saw a bear. He shot and killed the bear 
and had quite a feast. Then he started on again and saw an Indian village, but as they 
proved to be enemies he ran away until he came to a little lake. While walking around 
the lake he saw a deer. He shot and killed it and dragged it home to his teepee, to his 
wife and his little boy. 



Death of an animal is indicated by the animal being shown in an inverted position, 
viz. upside down. 

In case of a deer being shown by a set of deer horns, reverse the horns to represent 
death. Where a bear is shown by the bear's paw, reverse the paw with claws up to 
represent death. 

In case of a person, have animal representing family totem shown upside down to 
represent death. 



PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 



87 




Interpretation of Above Pictographic Story 

Two brothers, one of them a chief, by the names of Spotted Elk and White Beaver, 
together with their tribe, experienced a severe winter of deep snow and stormy weather, 
and three members of the same tribe froze to death. They suffered a famine and their 
wives were very hungry and their little girl, two years old, had the whooping cough. 
They sent for the Medicine Man but he did no good and the little girl died. Everybody 
grieved greatly. Then the top man of the tribe had a conference with the wise man of 
the village who told them that the sun would soon come out, the weather would get 
warm, the rivers would run and the buffalo would come near to their camp and they 
would have plenty of food. 

What he said came true and in three days the lookout on the hill signaled that he 
had discovered the buffalo. They secured a large quantity of meat which they cured on 
the drying poles and were quite happy, but they did not forget to place a flag of sorrow 
on the little girl's grave. 




88 



PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 




Interpretation of Above Pictographic Story 

During the great famine of 1787 the Indians were forced, for a time, to live on acorns, 
so a great many Sioux, in desperation, organized a big hunt and started out headed by 
their Chief, White Bear. The weather was clear, fine hunting weather. The first night 
out they camped by a river. The Chief was filled by fear of famine to his tribe, and his 
heart was very sad. He therefore called his council together and told them they must 
go to the Medicine Lodge and make Hunting Medicine for two days and nights. At 
the end of that time a friendly Cheyenne Indian by the name of Drags-the-Rope came 
into camp and said that he had seen a great many antelope. They believed him and a 
large party went out on the hunt and secured a large amount of antelope meat. The 
Chief, however, was disabled. A wild horse was dragging a rope which caught him, but 
he drew his knife and cut the rope and was saved, and all the tribe was happy. They 
went back to the village and took the antelope meat along. Then they all went to the 
Medicine Lodge and gave thanks for the successful hunt. 




PICTOGRAPHIC STORIES 



89 



PICTOGRAPHIC CORRESPONDENCE OF TODAY 

Some time ago Keesakawasis, Chief Day Child, of the Rocky Boy Tribe of 
Chippewa Indians, located at Rocky Boy, Montana, through his talented secretary 
Sitting Eagle, wrote to the author regarding his endeavors to trace certain records 
with reference to the lost tribe of Chippewas of which his people are descendants. As 
Keesakawasis himself can neither speak nor write English, and as the writer has no 
knowledge of Chippewa, it became necessary for us to communicate by means of 
Indian pictography, which proved to be quite satisfactory. The first letter and its 
interpretation follows: 




In the upper left hand corner is the date, Feb. IS, indicated as the 15th day of 
the hunger moon. Then comes the chiefs name; the Indian with the feather is the 
chief, and the next two signs are "day" and "child". A careful translation of the letter 
is as follows: 

"I see your talking leaf and my heart is big for you. I pray the great mystery 
that I may travel to your teepee, and that we may have a long talk together as brothers. 
(The two figures at the right of the teepee are having the long talk, the chief desig- 
nated by his symbol, Tomkins by the hat which makes him a white man. The line 
joining them at the bottom makes them brothers.) The Indian sky is everywhere 
overcast with clouds. The old Indian trail was good. The Chief and his white brother 
will travel the ancient path together toward the light. I look eagerly for your pictured 
message of reply. 

(Signed) SUNKA WAKAN WAHTOGLA". 



Keesakawasis was delighted to find that he had a white brother to whom he could 
write his ancient pictorial language. He is over 70 years old but still in the full 
possession of his faculties, and actively heads the tribe of which he is a member. 
To his Sioux brothers William Tomkins has been known for many years as Sunka 
Wakan Wahtogla, or Wild Horse. The text of the Chief's letter of reply and its 
interpretation follows: 




"In the 14th day of the Frog Moon, Day Child writes to his friend Wild Horse, 
who is a wise man. The winter was cold and stormy from the Frost Moon. The Fog 
Moon there was much snow and cold, and in our teepees we ^ere hungry. Now it 
is the Frog Moon and the river runs and we again have a little meat. I look for 
the coming of my friend Wild Horse when we can sit in my teepee, talk and smoke much 
kinni kinnick. Sitting Eagle helps me write. Your friend DAY CHILD." 



90 



SIGN LANGUAGE AND PICTOGRAPHY 







Brothers 



Come 



('enf/or 





anc('enorm 





Day 



Deer 





inininniini 




hea 




Grass 






* 




Heocrt- 



h angry 








Many -(heap) 



Moorx 



Moun 






1 11 1 1 mil 



Olcx 



Reocce 



Rain. 








Snake 






x 



s / 



Talk 



Trade 



Tree 



SIGN LANGUAGE AND PICTOGRAPHY 91 

CO-RELATING SIGN LANGUAGE AND PICTOGRAPHY 



All Indian language is highly figurative and poetical compared to ours, resembling 
the Chinese in its idiomatic construction, but I know of nothing that gives so complete 
an insight into the peculiarities of Indian thought and expression as does a thorough 
study of their universal sign language. 

Whatever form of picture writing Indians adopt, it must necessarily be based upon 
the same general sequence of thought as their spoken or gestured language, and in this 
way alone sign language becomes of prime importance in all pictographic study. 

Whether there is any direct connection between the gestured and pictured signs 
themselves is a question that has been largely ignored, the general presumption probably 
being that there is little if any relation between the two. With the exception of Garrick 
Mallery's monograph very little if any effort seems to have been made to correlate the 
Indian Sign Language and Indian Pictography. Perhaps the question seems too remote 
to merit serious consideration. But if something could be done to prove such a connec- 
tion it would be of the greatest importance in view of the fact that so little is known of 
pre-Columbian America. 

It is evident that the Indian pictographs and the more ancient rock carvings are the 
most important basis we have for a comparison of the life and habits of past races of 
early man in America with the Indians of today. 

Some of the pictographic symbols which have been used for long periods of time by 
the Sioux and Ojibway tribes seem to indicate that further research may show a definite 
relationship between the gestured and written signs. 

A few of the most striking examples supporting this assumption are shown on page 
eighty-six. 

The above is offered for the consideration of our readers, and we hope may point the 
way to still more important findings in this direction. 



"In primitive picture-writing, each sign meant a whole sentence and even more the 
image of a situation or of an incident being given as a whole; this developed into an 
ideographic writing of each word by itself; this system was succeeded by syllabic 
methods, which had in their turn to give place to alphabetic writing, in which each let- 
ter stands for, or is supposed to stand for, one sound." 

JESPERSON, the Danish philologist. 

"Gesture language stands on the threshold of picture and sign writing, as it consists 
chiefly of successive and transient delineations of objects, phenomena and symbols." 

PROF. TERRIEN DE LACOUPERIE. 

"Spoken sounds preceded written figures, and, before the invention of written sym- 
bols, dealings by means of knotted cords came into existence These were followed by 
cutting notches on wooden materials, WHICH GAVE WAY, IN TURN, TO FIGURES 
REPRESENTING NATURAL OBJECTS, AND FORMS INDICATIVE OF AC- 
TIONS, states or relations, cut out into lines to serve as counterparts of the spoken 
names of the same objects, actions, states or relations. With these came graving knives, 
and tablets for graving upon, and this was writing, the whole object of which was to 
make speech visible." TIA TUNG, 1300 A. D. 

"Ideographic writing directs the mind of the reader by means of a picture or a sym- 
bol directly to the idea existing in the mind of the one who uses it, while alphabetic or 
literal writing is simply the written expression of the sound, and only indirectly expresses 
the idea." PROF. C. J. RYAN, Theosophical University, San Diego. 

"There. is one great broad line that divides the nations and civilizations of the earth, 
past and present, in all their arts of expression. We may call it that of the ideographic 
or general, as against the literal or definite. It controls the inner, form of language and 
of languages; it manifests in the passage of thought from man to man; it determines 
whether the writing of the people shall be hieroglyphic or alphabetic/* 

PROF. WILLIAM GATES, Peabody Institute. 



92 



SMOKE SIGNALS 




SMOKE SIGNALS 



The author has been asked many times to include a code of smoke signals in this 
book, for the benefit of the Boy Scouts and others. Smoke signals were not a stand- 
ardized code as in the sign language. Inasmuch as they aimed to transmit secret 
knowledge, most or many of the signs were devised privately and to suit a particular 
purpose or the caprice of the transmitter. 

As the signals were visible to all, unless they had a secretly understood significance 
they would be conveying the information alike to friend and enemy. There were, 
however, certain more or less recognized abstract smoke signals, of which the follow- 
ing are a few. One puff meant ATTENTION". Two puffs meant ALL 5 S WELL. 
Three puffs of smoke, or three fires in a row, signifies DANGER, TROUBLE OR 
A CALL FOR HELP. 

An interesting diversion can be had by a party of Boy Scouts or others who will 
first pre-arrange their code of signals, then some members of the party go to an 
adjacent high hill or mountain, where they build a fire for the purpose on a visible 
point After bringing the small fire to a blaze, a smoke fire is created by adding 
some handfuls of grass or with some green branches which may have been carried 
up for the purpose. Apart from the fire the most necessary adjunct is a/ blanket or 
tarp' to control the smoke, which when the fire is smoking well is liberated in a series 
of puffs, which convey the message. 

At this ^point we would like to emphasize the importance of three signals of any 
kind as indicating danger or a call for help. If any boy is ever in serious trouble 
where he needs to call for help, three shouts, three whistles, three shots from a gun, 
three smoke signals, three fires in a row at night in a place where they might be 
visible, all should be interpreted to convey the message that a person is in danger 
or requires assistance. 

It should be impressed upon all boys that the number three, whether in shots, 
fires, whistles or smokes, is the distress signal of Boy Scouts and of all woodsmen 
plainsmen, and outdoor people generally. The importance of this signal cannot be 
overestimated. It should always be borne in mind that under no circumstances 
should this signal ever be given except in case of actual necessity, and never in a 
joking or foolish manner. 



HISTORY OF SIGN LANGUAGE 



93 



HISTORY OF SIGN LANGUAGE 



SOME RESEARCH WITH REFERENCE TO THE ORIGIN AND WIDE 

DISSEMINATION OF INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 

IN NORTH AMERICA. 

Much deserved credit is due the Plains Indians for having developed and perpetuated 
the Indian sign language. So much credit has been given them in this regard that the 
language has been commonly known as the sign language of the Plains Indians, by which 
title, in keeping with general usage, it is referred to on the title page of this work. Inas- 
much, however, as investigation has served to indicate that the language has other and 
more remote origin, the author has made something of a hobby of research along this 
line and is pleased to freely offer his findings, for such conclusion as more capable stu- 
dents may determine. 

Some authorities contend that because gesture is practically unknown among the 
present Indians of the Southwest, that it was never known in that region. This alone 
has been enough to stimulate the author to research along this line, if only in a spirit of 
fairness, and we offer our findings for the consideration of the jury of those who shall 
peruse these pages. 

Every record of the landing of Columbus tells of how they communicated with the 
Indians by signs. The records of all early explorers have information of this nature. 
It is contended that these general statements are true of all parts of the world, there- 
fore the task devolves of proving by research and deduction that the North American 
signs comprised a more perfect language and were the forerunner of the sign language 
contained herein. Let us take for example the story of the landing of Cabrillo in San 
Diego Bay in September, 1542. A free translation of the visit, contained in the U. S. 
Geographic Report of 1879, reads as follows: 

"And the following day, in the morning, there came to the ship three large Indians, 
and by signs they said that there were traveling in the interior men like us, with beards, 
and clothes and armed like those of the ships, and they made signs that they carried 
cross-bows and swords, and made gestures with the right arm as if they were throwing 
lances, and went running in a posture as if riding on horseback, and made signs that 
they killed many of the native Indians, and that for this they were afraid. This people 
are well disposed and advanced; they go covered with the skins of animals." 

In Coronado's Journal, 1540, speaking of the Tonkawa, or Comanche, tribes that in- 
habited the district now known as Western Texas, he states: 

"That they were very intelligent is evident from the fact that although they con- 
versed by means of signs, they made themselves understood so well that there was no 
need of an interpreter." . . . "They are kind people and not cruel, they are faithful, they 
are able to make themselves very well understood by means of signs." 

Garrick Mallery, of the Smithsonian Institute, said in 1879 that though some suggest 
a Spanish origin of sign, there is ample evidence that the Spaniards met signs in their 
early explorations north of and in the northern parts of Mexico, and availed themselves of 
them, but did not invent them. He said it is also believed by some authorities that the 
elaborate system of picture writing of Mexico was founded on gesture signs. 

Dr. Wm. H. Corbusier, Surgeon U. S. Army, a deep student of Indian affairs, said in 
1878: 

"The traditions of the Indians point towards the South as the direction from which 
the sign language came." "The Comanches acquired it in Mexico." "The Plains Indians 
did not invent it." 

Dr. Francis H. Atkins, Surgeon U. S. Army, in his early writings over fifty years 
ago, alludes to the effect of the Spanish, or rather the "lingua Mexicana," upon all the 
Southern tribes as well as upon some of those to the North, by which "Recourse to signs 
is now rendered less necessary." 



HISTORY OF SIGN LANGUAGE 



Rev. J. O. Dorsey contended fifty years ago that the Poncas in Indian Territory 
never saw sign language until they were sent south to that district. 

Cabeca de Vaca in 1528 said that the Indians of Tampa Bay were active in the use 
of signs, and in his journeying for eight subsequent years through Texas and Mexico, 
remarked that he passed through many dissimilar tongues, but that he questioned and 
received the answers of the Indians by signs "Just as if they spoke our language and we 
theirs." 

Ruxton, in his "Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains," (New York, 1848,) 
sums up his experiences with regard to the southwestern tribes so well as to require 
quotation. 

"The language of signs is so perfectly understood in the Western country, and the 
Indians themselves are such admirable sign talkers, that, after a little use, no difficulty 
whatever exists in carrying on a conversation by such a channel; and there are few 
mountain men who are at a loss in thoroughly understanding and making themselves in- 
telligible by signs alone, although they neither speak or understand a word of the Indian 
tongue." 

Mr. Ben Clark, the skillful interpreter at Fort Reno, stated: 

"The Cheyennes think the sign language originated with the Kiowas, who brought it 
from Mexico." 

Col. Richard I. Dodge, U. S. Army, considered in 187S, through an experience of over 
30 studious years among the American Indians, to be an authority, said: 

"The Plains Indians believe that the sign language was invented by the Kiowas." 
(who lived to the Southward.) "It is certain that the Kiowas are more universally pro- 
ficient than any other Plains tribe." 

In Bossu's "Travels through that part of North America formerly called Louisiana," 
(Forster's translation, London, 1771,) an account is given of a party who remained with 
them two years and "Conversed in their pantomimes with them." 

In the report of Fremont's expedition of 1844 special and repeated allusion is made 
to the expertness of the Piutes in signs, also regarding a band of Indians near the sum- 
mit of the Sierra Nevada, and a band of "Digger" Indians encountered on a tributary of 
the Rio Virgen who were likewise well versed in signs. 

Ernest Thompson Seton says that he found sign language, many years ago, to be a 
daily necessity when traveling among the natives of New Mexico, also that in Western 
Manitoba and Montana he found it used among the various Indian tribes as a common 
language. 

Dr. E. B. Tyler, the eminent authority who wrote "Researches into the early history 
of mankind," after a lifetime of study stated that "The same signs serve as a medium of 
converse from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico." 



Many of the Indians, in a variety of tribes, have stated that in former times the 
sign language was the one common and universal means of communication between 
all the tribes of American Indians who spoke different vocal languages. As he ex- 
pressed it, "All the old people in all the tribes used it." 

Little Raven, the former head chief of the Southern Arapahoes, said in regard to 
the use of gestures: "I have met Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches, Caddos, Gros Ventres, 
Snakes, Crows, Pawnees, O sages, Arickarees, Nez Perces, Cherokees, Choctaws, Chicka- 
saws, Sacs and Foxes, Pottawattomies, and other tribes whose vocal languages, like 
those of the tribes named, we did not understand, but we communicated freely in sign 
language." 

"The summer after President Lincoln was killed we had a grand gathering of all 
the tribes to the east and south of us. Twenty-five different tribes met near old Fort 
Abercrombie on the Wichita River. The Caddos had a different sign for horse, and 
also for moving, but the rest were made the same by all the tribes." 

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces said that his tribe learned the language from the 



HISTORY OF SIGN LANGUAGE 95 

Blackfeet, some 80 years earlier, and yet it is a well-known fact that these Indians used 
gesture speech long before that time. 

Nichelle, chief of the Pend d'Oreilles, said: "All the tribes talk in signs when they 
meet if they cannot understand each other's vocal language. The Blackfeet, Crows, Flat- 
heads, Kootenays, Peleuses, Cayuses, Pend d'Oreilles, Coeur d'Alenes, Spokanes, Nez 
Perces, Yakimas and others all make the same signs. 

"When I was a boy my grandfather told me that a long time ago when two tribes 
met that did not speak the same vocal language, they always talked in signs." 

In the record of Major Long's expedition, of which he wrote in 1822, it tells how 
on his way down the Mississippi a number of strange Indians came into his camp, and 
Mr. Nolin, who was present, addressed them in such of the languages as he was ac- 
quainted with and was not understood. He then conversed by certain signs. These were 
fully understood by the Indians and were answered in like manner. Directly a conver- 
sation ensued in which not a word was spoken. "This," said Nolin, "is a universal lan- 
guage common to the Western Tribes." 



Dr. W. Matthews and Dr. W. C. Bateler, who made comparisons of the signs re- 
ported by the Prince of Wied in 1832, proved the remarkable degree of permanency of the 
signs, most of which have persisted unchanged in their essentials. 

In the report of Major Long's expedition of 1819 among a number of scattered In- 
dian tribes it states that being ignorant of each others' languages, "many of them when 
they met would communicate by means of signs, without difficulty or interruption." 

Michaelius, writing in 1628, says of the Algonquins on or near the Hudson River: 
"For purposes of trading as much was done by signs with the thumb and fingers as by 
speaking." 

There is some recorded testimony and evidence of extensive early use of gesture 
signs by several tribes of Iroquoian and Algonkian families, although their advanced 
social condition worked against its continuance. The gradual decadence of signs used by 
our Indians in general arose from their general acquaintance with the English language. 

The Rev. Edward Jacker, in 1878, contributed to the Bureau of American Ethnology 
valuable information upon the use of gesture language in earlier times by the Ojibways 
of Lake Superior. 

From remoter parts of North America we learn, prior to 1879, from Mr. J. W. 
Powell, Indian Superintendent, of the use of sign language among the Kutine; and from 
Mr. James Lenihan, Indian Agent to the Selish, of their using signs; both tribes of 
British Columbia. 



The pueblo of Taos is, of all the pueblos, the farthest east and north, and has at 
all times been the connecting link between the Plains Indians and the Desert Indians. 
Intermarriage was frequent, and as a result the sign language, if it had not been there 
already, would naturally have been disseminated through the entire Southwest. 



Two widely separated historic incidents illustrate the use to which natural sign 
language had been put when white men first met Indians. When Captain John Smith 
and some of his followers had their first conference with Indians, after a skirmish in 
which the Indians had been repulsed with the loss of their idol, the record says: 

Captain John Smith, stepping forward, stood face to face with the dark-skinned 
messenger, and BY DINT OF MANY GESTURES made himself understood. 

This was the message he made the Indians understand "by dint of gestures : v 

"If you will send six unarmed men to load my boat with provisions, I will return 
your idol and give you beads and copper, and will be your friend. Say this to your com- 
rades while we await their answer." 

On the western side of the continent, up in Oregon, French traders met the Indians 
many years later. Telling of the first meeting, the chief of the Nez Perces said: "Our 
people could not talk with these white-faced men, but they used signs, which all people 
understand." 



96 



GENERAL USE OF IDIOMS 



GENERAL USE OF IDIOMS 



While the idiom is held in small esteem by some schoolmasters and old-fashioned 
grammarians, good writers in general admire and use it, for it is, in truth, "the life 
and spirit of language." 

Throughout this work various examples are shown of seemingly peculiar idiomatic 
construction. This is no different from the English language, which is just as idio- 
matic in its construction and use. The writer has found over 2100 idioms in the English 
language, some of which follow: 



At beck and call. 

To cut and run. 

Fits and starts. 

Over head and ears. 

At sixes and sevens. 

By hook or by crook. 

To sink or swim. 

Off and on. 

As bold as brass. 

As cool as a cucumber. 

To cool one's heels. 

Right off the reel. 

To show one's colors. 

To keep your head. 

To keep your head above water. 

To lose your head. 

To hold your head high. 

To hang your head. 

To have a head on your shoulders. 

To have your head turned . 

To have a swelled head. 

To take into your head. 

To put out of your head. 

To put into someone's head. 

To talk your head off. 

To bite your head off. 

To beat your head against a wall. 

To throw yourself at the head of. 

To put your head in a noose. 

To put your heads together. 

To come to a head. 

To bring on your head. 

Head over heels. 

Head and shoulders above. 

From head to foot. 



On his high horse. 

To take the bit in one's teeth. 

At one fell swoop. 

To take with a grain of salt. 

In a nutshell. 

Be there with bells on. 

A chip of the old block. 

He is a bad egg. 

All roads lead to Rome. 

To cudgel one's brains. 

To lend a hand. 

As fit as a fiddle. 

To take heart. 

To lose heart. 

To take to heart. 

To set your heart on. 

To have at heart. 

To be the heart and soul of. 

To have a soft (or hard) heart. 

To give one's heart. 

To lose your heart. 

To win someone's heart. 

To touch the heart of. 

To make one's heart leap. 

To have a soft place in your heart. 

To do your heart good. 

To have your heart in your mouth. 

To wear your heart on your sleeve. 

From the bottom of the heart. 

With all one's heart. 

Sick at heart. 

Heavy of heart. 

Down hearted. 

Heart-broken. 

Heart whole. 




EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



97 



SENTENCES FOR PRACTICE. 
Showing the English thought <and the Indian Sign equivalent. 



ENGLISH. (In lower case) 

1. I like to swim, 

2. You like to eat. 

3. We like to* walk. 

4. Fish swim under the water. 

5. Beavers swim fast. 

6. Scouts swim at camp. 

7. Horses eat grass. 

8. Dogs like to eat meat. 

9. I eat with my .father. 

10. Two men are walking by the river. 

11. Do you like to walk in the woods? 

12. Five boys are walking to camp. 

13. The girl is running. 

14. The dog is running with the girl. 

15. Horses can run fast. 

16. Do you know howtto swim? 

17. Can they build a fire? 

18. I can read. 

19. Do you understand Indian Sign 

Language? 

20. I understand a little. 

21. Have you seen the horse? 

22. I have not seen the horse. 

23. Where are you going? 

24. I am going to my home. 

25. Your friend wants to go along. 

26. Do you want to eat now? 

27. Not now, I am not hungry. 

28. I want to get a drink of water. 

29. I want to go to sleep. 

30. Indians drink water from the 

river. 

31. They catch fish in the lake. 

32. Look, it is raining. 

33. Do you see the big dog? 

34. A cat sees well at night. 

35. I cannot see to work now. 

36. We like to work in summer. 

37. A girl- must help her mother. 

38. A good scout likes to help others. 

39. My sister does not want to cook 

supper. 

40. Can you make coffee? 

41. I will -cut wood and build a fire. 

42. When do we eat, at noon? 

43. I do not eat much for breakfast. 

44. All the smaller Ibirds sleep at 

night. 

45. The owl sleeps in the daytime and 

flies at night. 

46. Bears sleep all winter. 



INDIAN SIGN. (In capitals) 
I FOND SWIM. 
YOU FOND EAT. 
I ALL FOND WALK. 
FISH SWIM BELOW WATER. 
BEAVER SWIM FAST. 
SCOUT SWIM CAMP. 
HORSE EAT GRASS. 
DOG FOND MEAT. EAT. 
WITH MY FATHER, I EAT. 
TWO MAN WALK BESIDE RIVER. 
QUESTION YOU FOND WALK AMONG 

TREES. 

FIVE BOY WALK CAMP. 
GIRL RUN. 

DOG RUN WITH GIRL. 
HORSE KNOW RUN FAST. 
QUESTION YOU KNOW SWIM. 
QUESTION HE ALL KNOW MAKE FIRE. 
I UNDERSTAND READ. 
QUESTION YOU KNOW INDIAN SIGN 

LANGUAGE? 
I KNOW LITTLE. 
QUESTION YOU SEE HORSE. 
I HORSE SEE NOT. 
QUESTION WHERE YOU GO? 
I GO MY HOUSE. 

YOUR FRIEND WANT GO WITH YOU. 
QUESTION YOU WANT EAT NOW. 
NOW NOT. I NO HUNGRY. 
I WANT WATER. 
I WANT SLEEP. 
INDIAN GO RIVER. DRINK WATER. 

THEY TAKE FISH LAKE. 

SEE. RAIN. 

QUESTION YOU SEE BIG DOG. 

CAT SEE GOOD TOGETHER NIGHT. 

I CANNOT SEE WORK NOW. 

I-ALL FOND WORK LONG-GRASS-TIME. 

GIRL MUST WORK WITH MOTHER. 

GOOD SCOUT FOND WORK WITH ALL 

PEOPLE. 
MY SISTER WANT NOT MAKE EAT 

EVENING. 

QUESTION YOU KNOW MAKE COFFEE. 
I CHOP WOOD. MAKE FIRE. 
QUESTION FUTURE-TIME WE EAT. 

SUN HIGH. 

I EAT NOT MUCH SUNRISE. 
ALL LITTLE BIRD SLEEP NIGHT. 

OWL SLEEP DAY. FLY NIGHT. 
BEAR MAKE BIG SLEEP COLD TIME. 



98 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



47. How quietly the baby sleeps in its 

little bed. 

48. Last summer .we went to the 

mountains. 

49. I like to see it snow in winter. 

50. We have lived here ten years. 

51. By brother is six years old. 

52. The old Indian chief is very brave. 

53. The old flag waves over the 

church. 

54. Come her-e and look at the moon. 

55. We see the moon and the stars at 

night. 

56. Only the sun shines today. 

57. I would rather walk alone. 

58. I have only one brother. 

59. My only brother is very strong. 

60. The soldier has only bne son. 

61. Little girls often laugh. 

62. We often see the soldiers march. 

63. Birds sing frequently in the 

Spring 1 , 

64. Are you an Arapahoe? 

65. No, I am a Cheyenne chief. 

66. What is your- name? 

67. My name is Big Beaver. 

68. I would like to know your name. 

69. My name is White Crow. 

70. I am an Arapahoe scout. 

71. Where do yo-u live? 

72. I live across the mountains. 

73. What are you doing here? 

74. I am hunting beaver. 

75. Have you caught any? 

76. No, the beavers are all gone. 

77. Did you see any white men to- 

day? 

78. Yes, on ^the other side of the 

mountain. 

79. How 'many did you see? 

80. I saw one, alone. 

81. Was he a jyoung man? 

82. No, he was very old. 

83. What was he doing? 

84. He was leading two horses. 

85. Where did he go? 

86. He went up the river. 

87. We are holding a council tonight. 

88. Good, can I sit in? 

89. Yes, all chiefs are welcome. 

90. Where does your council meet? 

91. Among the trees. 

92. Where are the trees? 

93. Over the river, beside the moun- 

tain. 

94. Are yoiu hungry? 

95. Yes, I had no breakfast. 



BABY SLEEP QUIET LITTLE BED. 

LONG-GRASS-TIME BEYOND WE GO 

MOUNTAIN. 

I FOND SEE SNOW WINTER. 
TEN WINTER ME-ALL SIT TEEPEE 

HERE. 

MY BROTHER HAVE SIX WINTER. 
OLD INDIAN CHIEF MUCH BRAVE. 
OLD FLAG FLY ABOVE GOD-HOUSE. 

COME HERE, SEE MOON. 

ME-ALL SEE MOON WITH MANY STAR 

NIGHT. 

ALONE SUN WORK GOOD DAY NOW. 
I WANT WALK ALONE. 
I HAVE ONE ALONE BROTHER. 
MY ALONE BROTHER 'MUCH STRONG. 
SOLDIER HAVE ONE ALONE SON. 
LITTLE GIRL LAUGH OFTEN. 
WE SEE SOLDIER WALK OFTEN. 
BIRD SING OFTEN SHORT-GRASS- 

TIME. 

QUESTION YOU ARAPAHOE? 
NO I CHEYENNE CHIEF. 
QUESTION YOU CALLED. 
I CALLED BIG BEAVER. 
I FOND KNOW YOU CALLED. 
I CALLED WHITE CROW. 
I SCOUT. ARAPAHOE. 
QUESTION WHERE YOU SIT? 
I SIT 'ACROSS MOUNTAIN. 
QUESTION YOU WORK HERE? 
I HUNT BEAVER. 
QUESTION YOU TAKE BEAVER? 
NO. BEAVER ALL GONE. 
QUESTION YOU SEE WHITE MAN DAY 

NOW? 
YES. ACROSS MOUNTAIN. 

QUESTION MANY YOU SEE? 

I SEE ONE. ALONE. 

QUESTION WHITE MAN FEW WINTER? 

NO. WHITE MAN MUCH OLD. 

QUESTION WHITE MAN DO? 

WHITE MAN LEAD TWO HORSE. 

QUESTION WHERE HE GO? 

WHITE MAN GO UP RIVER. 

WE SIT COUNCIL NIGHT NOW. 

GOOD. QUESTION I SIT WITH YOU? 

YES. WE FOND ALL CHIEF SIT WITH 

US. 

QUESTION WHERE YOU SIT COUNCIL? 
AMONG TREES. 
QUESTION WHERE TREES. 
ACROSS RIVER, BESIDE MOUNTAIN. 

QUESTION YOU HUNGRY? 
YES. I NO EAT SUNRISE. 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



99 



96. I have plenty of food. 

97. Good, where is it? 

98. At my teepee. 

99. All right, let's go. 

100. You are my good friend. 

101. Before the white man came, many 

buffalo roamed the plains. 

102. After the white man came, the 

buffalo' disappeared. 

103. Now cattle feed where once the 

buffalo roamed. 

104. Don't wait for me, I'll come 

pretty soon. 

105. I will sit here and read until he 

finishes his work. 

106. I should like to see a beaver when 

it starts to cut down a tree. 

107. May the Great Spirit permit your 

moccasins to make tracks in 
many snows. 

108. May the Great Scoutmaster of all 

good scouts be with us all now 
and forever. 

109. When do we go on our overnight 

hike to scout camp? 

110. The Pawnees had a chief whose 

name was Spotted Bull. 
11. Spotted Bull aroused the Pawnees 
to make war on the Sioux. 

112. The Pawnees had many good 

warriors, also horses and rifles. 

113. The Pawnees buildup their ^ own 

courage by villifying the Sioux. 

114. The Pawnees said that the Sioux 

men were squaws and didn't 
know how to fight, and that the 
Sioux made weak medicine. 

115. Spotted Bull, the Pawnee Chief, 

stole many horses and took 
them across the little Snake 
River. 

116. The Sioux saw the trail, followed 

it for many days and put up a 
big fight. 

117. They killed nine Pawnees, took 

all the Sioux and Pawnee 
horses, and went back to the 
Sioux camp. 

118. The Pawnees were ready to quit. 

119. They called a council with the 

Sioux and made peace. 

120. It looks like rain today, we'll 

start our deer hunt tomorrow. 

121. If the snow is deep the birds can- 

not find food to eat. 

122. If you want to go with us, you 

must be ready at noon. 

123. Did you speak, to me? Yes, I told 

you to follow me. 



I 'HAVE PLENTY FOOD. 

GOOD. QUESTION WHERE? 

MY TEEPEE. 

GOOD, WE GO. 

YOU GOOD FRIEND. 

TIME-PAST MANY BUFFALO WALK 
ACROSS PRAIRIE; TIME-FUTURE 
WHITEMAN COME. 

TIME-PAST WHITEMAN COME, TIME- 
FUTURE BUFFALO ALL GONE. 

NOW SPOTTED BUFFALO EAT WHERE 
TIME-PAST BUFFALO WALK. 

WAIT ME NOT. I COME SHORT-TIME 
FUTURE. 

I SIT, READ. FUTURE-TIME HE FIN- 
ISH WORK. 

I WANT SEE BEAVER TIME- FUTURE 
BEGIN CUT TREE. 

GREAT MYSTERY HELP YOUR MOC- 
CASIN MAKE TRACK ABOARD 
SNOW LONG-TIME. 

GREAT MYSTERY ALL GOOD SCOUT 
SIT WITH YOU ALL NOW AND 
FOREVER. 

QUESTION FUTURE-TIME WE WALK 
SCOUT CAMP? STAY. SLEEP CAMP. 

TIME-PAST PAWNEE HAVE CHIEF 
CALLED SPOTTED-MALE-BUFFALO. 

SPOTTED-MALE-BUFFALO MAKE BIG 
TALK. SAY PAWNEE MUST MAKE 
WAR SIOUX. 

PAWNEE HAVE MANY BRAVE WAR- 
RIOR WITH MANY HORSE MANY 
GUN. 

PAWNEE MAKE OWN HEART STRONG. 
ABUSE SIOUX, 

PAWNEE SAY SIOUX MAN EQUAL 
WOMAN, UNDERSTAND FIGHT -NO. 
MAKE STRONG -MEDICINE NO. 

SPOTTED MALE BUFFALO. CHIEF 

PAWNEE, STEAL MANY HORSE. 

MAKE HORSE GO ACROSS LITTLE 

SNAKE RIVER. 
SIOUX SEE TRAIL, FOLLOW TRAIL 

MANY SLEEP, MAKE BIG FIGHT. 

THEY KILL NINE PAWNEE, TAKE ALL 
SIOUX HORSE, ALL PAWNEE 
HORSE, GO CAMP SIOUX. 

PAWNEE WANT STOP FIGHT. 

THEY SIT COUNCIL WITH SIOUX. ALL 
MAKE PEACE. 

PERHAPS RAIN DAY NOW, WE GO TO- 
MORROW HUNT DEER. 

PERHAPS SNOW MUCH, BIRD CANNOT 
SEE TAKE 'EAT. 

PERHAPS YOU WANT GO WITH US, 
YOU MUST GO NOON. 

QUESTION YOU SPEAK ME? YES I SAY 
YOU FOLLOW ME. 



100 



EXAMPLES OF SENTENCE FORMATION 



124. Wait a moment. You cannot 

speak while everyone is chatter- 
ing. 

125. Be quiet, listen to the speaker. 

126. Tell your secrets only to your 

friends. 

127. Very many Sioux Indians are 

good singers and dancers. 

128. The bird builds its nest in a tree. 

129. The black bear grows very big. 

130. For many days the forest fire 

burned fiercely. 

131. The man is poor and blind. 

132. A bad man stole my fine horse to- 

day. 

133. The Indian ran all the way home, 

and when he reached home was 
very tired. 

134. White men labor hard to make 

money. 

135. When the wind blows hard, the 

fire burns brightly. 

136. What did the dog eat last eve- 

ning? 

137. The old woman went to the 

farmer to get some corn. 

138. Today I saw a large flock of 

blackbirds roosting in a tree. 

139. Children love to sing and dance 

and laugh. 

140. The Dakota Chief, Crazy Horse, 

was a fearless man and lived in 
the Sioux country on Cheyenne 
River. 



WAIT LITTLE. YOU CANNOT SPEAK. 
ALL PEOPLE LITTLE TALK. 

QUIET: LISTEN: MAN TALK. 
ALONE WITH FRIEND TALK SECRET. 

MANY SIOUX SING DANCE GOOD. 

BIRD MAKE HOUSE ABOARD TREE. 

BEAR COLOR BLACK GROW MUCH BIG. 

FOREST FIRE BURN STRONG LONG- 
TIME. 

MAN HAVE MONEY NOT, SEE NOT, 
EYE WIPED OUT. 

MAN, HEART BAD, STEAL MY GOOD 
HORSE DAY NOW. 

INDIAN RUN HOUSE, ARRIVE-THERE 
MUCH TIRED. 

WHITE MAN WORK MUCH, EFFORT 

GET MONEY. 
WIND GO FAST. FIRE BURN STRONG. 

QUESTION DOG EAT YESTERDAY SUN- 
SET? 

WOMAN OLD GO FARM-MAN, BRING 
CORN. 

DAY NOW I SEE MANY LITTLE BIRD 
COLOR BLACK SIT TREE. 

LITTLE BOY LITTLE GIRL FOND SING 
DANCE LAUGH. 

DAKOTA CHIEF CALLED CRAZY 
HORSE SIT SIOUX COUNTRY BE- 
SIDE GOOD RIVER. 



For a long time I have been wanting 
to get a place for a mountain camp. 
Last summer I found a place that I 
thought would do very well. It was 
all wooded; it had a creek running 
through it; and there was a beauti- 
ful spot for a camp. The owner 
wanted $500.00, and I bought it on 
the spot. 

Two months ago I took two friends 
with me and -went up to start the 
camp. The day we got there we 
saw tracks of deer and bear, and 
caught isome fish for supper. We 
were too tired when night came to 
put up our tents, and we didn't think 
it would rain anyway. We made up 
our beds near the fire and lay down 
to sleep. 

In the middle of the night it began 
to rain. Before daylight we were 
soaking wet. One of my friends got 
sick, and there was no Doctor any- 
where near. Much to our disgust, 
we had to break camp and come 
back home. 



LONG-TIME-PAST I WANT BUY LITTLE 
LAND MOUNTAIN MAKE CAMP. 
LONG-GRASS-TIME BEYOND I SEE 
LITTLE LAND I THINK GOOD. LIT- 
TLE-LAND POSSESS MANY TREES, 
POSSESS RIVER-^LITTLE, MAKE 
BEAUTIFUL CAMP. MAN WANT 
SELL LITTLE-LAND FIVE HUND- 
RED MONEY. I BUY LITTLE-LAND. 

TWO MOON BEYOND I WITH TWO 
FRIEND GO MAKE-RISE CAMP. WE 
ARRIVE LITTLE-LAND; WE SEE 
TRACK DEER, BEAR; WE TAKE 
FISH EAT SUNSET. EVENING COME 
WE TIRED. WE WANT NOT MAKE 
RISE TENT; WE THINK RAIN NO. 
WE MAKE BED 'NEAR FIRE, SLEEP. 



MIDDLE NIGHT BEGIN RAIN. MORN- 
ING COME, WE ALL MUCH WATER. 
ONE FRIEND ARRIVE AT SICK. 
WHITE -CHIEF -MEDICINE NEAR 
NO. HEART MUCH TIRED, WE 
MUST STOP SIT CAMP, COME 
HOME. 



VITALIZING A SIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAM 101 

VITALIZING A SIGN LANGUAGE PROGRAM TO FIT 
A BOY SCOUT TROOP MEETING PROGKAMi 

Boys are always interested in mystery, secrecy, and all things that are beyond the 
comprehension. Sign language can be made a vital part of the troop, for building troop 
spirit and troop interest. 

1. Instead of allowing scouts to enter the troop room helter-skelter, have the 
Senior Patrol Leader, or one of the troop officers, receive the scout at the door and 
ask him, in sign language, "Who are you?' 7 To which he responds in sign language, 
"I am a good scout." Answering, the Leader says, "Good, come in." This continues until 
all the boys are received. Then there may be two or three new lads who do not know 
the sign, and of course will have a profound desire to learn it. The Scoutmaster then 
has the opportunity, which is most important, of meeting these new lads and bringing 
them into the troop. It is quite common for boys to deny other boys getting in on 
the inside. The Scoutmaster then steps across, gives these boys a short talk, tells them 
some of the intricacies of the scout program, and how they can become regular fellows 
and get into the troop. 

2. Let us now consider the scout that comes in late, interrupts the meeting, 
attracts attention. He may break the trend of thought under consideration, especially 
if he goes up and talks with the Scoutmaster and explains why he is tardy, etc. Instead, 
let him come in in regular form, approach the flag, salute it, salute the Scoutmaster, 
and in sign language say he is sorry, (heart on the ground), that he wants to come in. 

3. Build into each patrol, patrol sign language which all the members of the patrol 
will understand. This will help toward building patrol spirit, and a unity within the 
troop having its origin within the patrol. 

4. Ceremonial, also initiation. For these we have regular suggested forms. 

5. As an alternative, when there is possibly only one to introduce, the tenderfoot 
can be brought into the room by a scout who offers him as a member. The scout who 
brings the candidate in may say: "I bring this boy, make good scout." This will be 
mysterious to the candidate, will keep him guessing as to what is being said about 
him, will show him that there is something to learn and understand, and will inspire 
him to come through a hundred per cent in order to measure up to the mysticism 
that surrounds the ceremonial. After two or three questions have been exchanged and 
answered, the candidate is then received into the program and is relieved of any anxiety 
and told that he may now become a regular member, etc. He should then be turned 
over to whoever is in charge of the sign language work, and be properly prepared and 
taught some of the mysteries of the troop program. This should not be confused in 
any way with secrecy or with the secret fraternity idea. 

6. Instead of the usual method of scouts attention, or scouts alert, form a straight 
line. The leader puts forth his hands, giving the signal for calling attention. He then 
gives the order: 

A. Stand. 

B. Sit down. 

C. Attention. 

D. Look at Bulletin Board. 

E. Return to Patrol Formation. 

7. Signs or signals can be given for troop on the move. Signal to call patrol leaders 
to Big Chief. Signal for calling patrols in circle formation. Signal for calling "Troop 
circle formation." Signal for "Straight line formation." Signal for "Sit down for an 
Indian story." Signal for "Council meeting of troop officers and patrol leaders." 

The foregoing ideas are possible of an immense variety of treatment, and can as 
well be adapted to the use of Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, Rangers, or any organization 
of youth. 



102 SUGGESTED TROOP PROGRAM 

SUGGESTED TROOP PROGRAM 

Before 7:30 DUMB BELL TAG. The players stand scattered about the playing area 
one of their number being "it" and is placed in the center of the area. A 
dumb bell or some similar object is passed from one player to another, 
"it" attempting to tag the player who has the dumb bell. If he succeeds, 
the one being tagged is "it". 

7:30 Fall in. Roll call. Collection of dues. Inspection. Flag ceremony. 

7:40 SAFETY DRILLS. Make your troop patrols rescue crews. Dramatize 
ice or water rescues, electric accidents, automobile accidents, etc. Explain 
mistakes afterwards make an inter-patrol contest out of it. 

8:00 PATROL MEETING. Have some of your best sign talkers teach each 
of your patrols the Indian Sign Language. 
Instruct scouts in test passing for the court of honor. 

8:20 Develop Indian Sign Language through games or stunts, and prepare them 
for passing the Signaling tests for second or first class; also for the sign 
language part and the Indian games portion of the new Indian Lore 
Merit Badge. Give the playlet to some of your best sign talkers and let 
them put it on. 

8:50 Announcements. Scoutmasters 5 minutes. Read or talk on citizenship. 
Scout handbook pages 532-540. 

9:00 Fall in. Hand salute. Indian Sign Language Benediction. Troop dismissed. 



INDIAN CEREMONY FOR OPENING COUNCIL FIRE 

TWO BOY SCOUTS, FOUR INDIANS. THEY ENTER FROM DIFFERENT POINTS 

Each Boy Scout holds up his hand and says : "How." 

Each Indian holds up his right hand and says: "How." 

INDIAN CHIEF: "What wants the paleface in the land of the Indian?" 

BOY SCOUT: "We desire to camp here, oh chief, to live in the open as your people 
have done, and to hold our council fire among these hills during the Red Moon and the 
Falling Leaf Moon, even as the Indians did here a long time ago." 

CHIEF: "Friends, this is the hunting ground of my forefathers. Many moons, long 
ago, they roamed these hills, pitched their tepees in these valleys, and the smoke of their 
council fires drifted above these tree tops^ 

"In great numbers they trod this trail to the lodge of their chief, from here but a 
short journey. Upon this very hill lies the tomb of our Chief. 

"My people were the friends of the animals, of the birds, the flowers and the trees. 
They clothed us, sustained us and protected us. We respected all living creatures. We left 
the woods and the fields as we found them. We ask that the White Man use these council 
grounds the way the Indian did. If he do so, we are glad the White Man is here. I 
have spoken." 

BOY SCOUT: "We promise, oh chief, to protect everything that grows and lives in 
the woods and fields of your ancestors. We will try to leave it as we found it, so that it 
may be enjoyed by those who come after us. I have said it." 

Sometime before the meeting have drawn on the ground, within the circle, with whiting 
or lime, an outline of a snake. Then, at this pointf, the Chief rubs put the snake with his 
foot and ^says : "We now destroy the snake with all it represents with its forked tongue 
as there is no room for untruth or hatred here." 

Chief gives the signs for: "I give you the Sun. I give you the Moon. I give you the 
Deer, the Elk, the Bear, the Wolf, the Birds; I give you the council fire. I am your friend." 

FIRE LIGHTING 

Indians seated on the ground at side, each with a leafy branch. Each one in turn dances 
around the fire, using the toe-heel and other two-step counts, then lays his branch on top 
of the fire and returns to place. 

Fire lighter prepares fire lighting set, while a Boy Scout or an Indian tells some kind 
of an appropriate story, such as, "How the Coyote Stole the Fire." Or the fire can slide 
down a wire from a place where it is concealed in a tree. 

As soon as the story is finished, the fire should be lit. 

Those who participated in the a>ct then say, "How" and exit. 

(The entire proceedings should be in charge of a Chief who wears a headdress and 
any other Indian equipment possible.) 



SOME SIGN LANGUAGE SUGGESTIONS 103 

SOME SIGN LANGUAGE SUGGESTIONS 



In the West, where the writer has taught in many places, they make much use of sign 
language. When two boys or girls leave camp or town on a hike they, in many cases, go 
pledged from their departure until their return to communicate in no way except in sign 
language. At camp fires and troop meetings they evolve little plays, games and contests 
in sign language, thereby developing its practicability and its charm, All of this adds 
mystery and spirit, and helps to strengthen a program. 

HERE IS A SUGGESTION FOR A POSSIBLE PLAY 
IN THE INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE 

By William Tomkins 

The scene is somewhere in the wilderness. A father and son have been camping to- 
gether. Going out on a hunt they get lost and cannot find camp. They meet an Indian. 
(You can costume the Indian with a blanket and one or two feathers in a head band.) 
The play opens as father and son walk out on the stage. 

Father: "Well, son, it looks as if we are lost in the wilderness." 

Son: "Yes, dad, we have been lost for three days now." 

Father: "Unless something happens we are sure to perish." 

Son: "Yes. I'm hungry and am afraid we'll starve." 

The Indian walks in. 

Father: "Hello, Mr. Indian, I'm glad you came. We are lost. How can we get out 
of here?" 

Indian: "No sabe." (This is said with fingers to his lips.) 

Father: "Isn't there anyone around here that speaks English?" 

Indian: "No sabe." 

Son: "Say, dad, maybe he knows Indian sign." 

Father: "Do you know it?" 

Son: "Yes, I learned it in Scouting." 

Father: "Well, go ahead ; try it." 

Son: (Indian sign) "Do you understand Indian sign language?" 

Indian: (Indian sign) "Yes, I understand." 

Son: "It's all right, dad; he says he knows it. What shall I ask him now?" 

Father: "Why, tell him we're lost." 

Son: (I. S.) "We're lost." 

Indian: (I. S.) "No, you no lost, you here." 

Son: "Dad, he says we're not lost; we're here." 

Father: "Well, I guess he's right at that. Tell him we went out hunting and can't find 
our camp." 

Son: (I. S.) "We go hunt. Cannot find camp." 

Indian: (I. S.) "Where is your camp?" 

Son: "Dad, he wants to know where our camp is." 

Father: "That's just what I don't know. Tell him it's by a lake." 

Son: (I. S.) "We make-rise tent beside lake," 

Indian: (I. S.) "Me understand. Three lakes beside here." 

Son: "He says there are three lakes near here." 

Father: "Tell him it's a little lake near a big mountain." 

Son: (I. S.) "Little lake beside big mountain." 

Indian: (I. S.) "I understand. Go not now; night come fast. Stay (sit) with me. 
Future time one sleep I go with you." 

Son: "He says he knows where it is, Dad, but it's too late to go now. He says to stay 
with him and he'll go with us tomorrow." 

Father: "All right; we stay. I'm tired and hungry anyway." 

Son: (I. S.) "Good, we stay with you." 

Indian: (I. S.) "Perhaps you hungry. Come with me. I give you food." 

Son: "He says if we're hungry, Dad, to go with him and he'll save us food." 

Father: "All right, let's go." 

All Exit, 



104 SUGGESTION FOR INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE PLAYLET 

SUGGESTION FOR INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE PLAYLET 

A company of soldiers is camped on the prairie in the Indian country. An Indian 
Scout, exhausted, reaches camp and tells of some recent trouble between two hostile bands 
of Sioux and Cheyenne. After he has rested and recovered somewhat, he tells the story 
in sign. 



THE .STORY 

Indian Scout: "I was traveling over the 
prairie when down in the Cheyenne 
River valley I saw two bands of In- 
dians meet, I know they are Sioux 
and Cheyenne, because they come 
from Sioux and Cheyenne camps. Two 
chiefs ride out and meet and con- 
verse for a long time, but evidently 
did not agree. They rode back to 
their friends and soon they all start 
shooting. I think it perhaps because 
Sioux stole many Cheyenne horses." 

Captain: "Where are the Indians now?" 

Scout: "Across prairie, beside Chey- 
enne River." 

Captain: "Where is your horse?" 

Scout: "Horse swim river, climb 
mountain, go across prairie; horse 
foot go down prairie dog hole, break 
foot; shoot horse. I feel very bad." 

Captain: "What do you think the In- 
dians will do now?" 

Scout: "I think perhaps the Indians 
will go to the Fort and attack the 
soldiers." 

They all start for the Fort. On the way 
they meet the two bands of Indians, 
who are coming along together. 

Captain, to Indians: "I thought you peo- 
ple were fighting?" 

Sioux Chief: "We fight a little while 
and then understand it is bad medi- 
cine; so we hold a council and make 
peace." 

Cheyenne Chief: "Sioux Chief speaks 
the truth; his tongue is not crooked 
like a snake. All Cheyenne and Sioux 
Indians make peace and now live like 
friends." 



INDIAN SIGN EQUIVALENT 

INDIAN SCOUT: "I RIDE OVER PRAIRIE. 
GO GOOD RIVER VALLEY. SEE MANY 
INDIANS WANT FIGHT. MANY SIOUX. 
MANY CHEYENNE. COME SIOUX CHEY- 
ENNE CAMP. TWO CHIEF RIDE. MEET. 
TALK LONG TIME. GO WITH FRIENDS. 
START SHOOT. I THINK PERHAPS 
SIOUX STOLE MANY CHEYENNE 
HORSE." 



CAPTAIN: "QUESTION WHERE INDIANS 
NOW?" 

SCOUT: "ACROSS PRAIRIE BESIDE GOOD 
RIVER." 

CAPTAIN: "QUESTION WHERE YOUR 
HORSE?" 

SCOUT: "HORSE SWIM RIVER. CLIMB 
MOUNTAIN. GO ACROSS PRAIRIE. 
HORSE FOOT GO DOWN PRAIRIE DOG 
HOLE. BREAK FOOT. SHOOT HORSE. 
ME HEART ON THE GROUND." ' 

CAPTAIN: "WHAT YOU THINK INDIANS 
DO NOW?" 

SCOUT: "PERHAPS INDIANS GO FORT. 
MAKE FIGHT WITH SOLDIERS." 

ALL START FOR FORT. THEY MEET THE 
TWO BANDS OF INDIANS COMING 
ALONG TOGETHER. 

CAPTAIN: "I UNDERSTAND YOU IN- 
DIANS ALL FIGHT?" 

SIOUX CHIEF: "YES. INDIANS FIGHT 
LITTLE WHILE. ALL UNDERSTAND 
FIGHT BAD MEDICINE. HOLD COUN- 
CIL. MAKE PEACE." 

CHEYENNE CHIEF: "SIOUX CHIEF TALK 
TRUE. TONGUE NO CROOKED LIKE 
SNAKE. ALL CHEYENNE SIOUX MAKE 
PEACE. NOW FRIENDS, BROTHERS." 



INDIAN CEREMONIAL INITIATION FOR BOY SCOUTS 



105 



INDIAN CEREMONIAL INITIATION FOR BOY SCOUTS 

By William Tomkins 

PROPERTIES. 

Blanket or other drapery for each Scout. It is desirable that Tenderfoot Scouts wear 
one feather, Second Class Scouts two, and First Class Scouts three. Scoutmasters 
and assistants should have more pretentious display, if possible, (this can be an old 
shirt, fringed and decorated with paint, etc., or made-up costumes, war bonnet.) If 
possible have an electric or other council fire. Have a Tom-Tom, or a portable phono- 
graph with Indian music. 

STAGE SETTING. 

Troop in Indian regalia seated in circle around fire, at distance of 15 feet. Chief 
and assistants at fire within circle, according to diagram. 



o o 
o o 





o 

o _ 



OFF 
.STAGE 

ANTE 
ROOM 



SUB-CHIEF 



CANDIDATES 

o o o o o 



GUIDE 




O eHi r 

SUB-CHIEF o 




Lights out, or very dim. Fire in operation. 

ACTION. 

One of the assistants, or any combination of assistants or boys do an Indian dance, 
to Tom-Tom or primitive music on portable phonograph, or have the music alone. All 
this is optional and according to individual possibilities, but highly recommended. 

All conversation around the fire is in sign language and therefore silent. A reader 
in the back of the audience will interpret the gestures. 

Guide enters with candidates. Halts them and comes close to outside of circle. 
Makes sign of friendly greeting. 

Chief invites him to come within circle, using sign language. 

Guide signs that he has come a long ways, over mountains, (meaning the tests), 
across a river, (meaning the parents' consent), with boys who want to make themselves 
Scouts, (or with boys who want to sit at the council fire). 

Chief signs for boys to be brought to the fire. 

This is done by motion, by the guide. 

Chief, (in sign): "Why want go with scouts?"' 

Candidates, (Being scouts they are supposed to know the sign language): Want 
go woods, make me strong, brave, true; rise in the world. (Be a rising man.) 

The Chief and his assistants rise to their feet. 

Chief: "Make scout oath." 

Candidates make the oath in sign language, all may do it at once, or the candi- 
dates may do it while the rest hold the oath sign. 

Chief makes sign: "Good." V ^TT WP ATT 

Chief pins tenderfoot pin on each candidate, then makes sign: YOU, MJ, A.LL, 



106 EXERCISES SUITABLE FOR PASSING TESTS 

BROTHERS, NOW, ALWAYS." Chief makes sign of shaking hands. He then motions 
to scouts in each patrol, some members of which will come forward, (as many as there 
are candidates), throw one arm and blanket over a candidate's shoulder, and bring him 
to a place in the circle. 

Then everybody will rise and give the Scout benediction in sign, or do a friendship 
dance, followed by the benediction. 



SIGN LANGUAGE EXERCISES SUITABLE FOR PASSING TESTS 

There are a number of sentences which can be made up of the signs included in 
the first 150 signs taught by William Tomkins in his lessons. These are also found 
among the signs on page 64 of the Tomkins book. By learning the 200 signs on page 
64 one can become quite fluent in the use of sign language. The following stories or 
sentences will enable anyone to pass the first class test; in fact there are four times 
as many as necessary for this, or to do the sign language required for the Indian Lore 
Merit Badge. 

I SEE YOU ALL COME HERE TODAY. NOW SEE ME TALK INDIAN 
SIGN LANGUAGE. HAVE GOOD TIME. 

WHERE YOU GO? I GO HOME. WHY? I WANT EAT. I WANT DRINK. 
I WANT SLEEP. I WANT GO MAKE CAMP. WHAT YOU DO CAMPING? 
I CHOP WOOD. I MAKE FIRE. I MAKE COFFEE. I GO WALK. I GO RUN. 
I GO SWIM. I GO HUNT. I SEE DEER, ELK, BEAR, BEAVER, WOLF, BIRDS. 
I HAVE GOOD TIME. 

I RIDE HORSE ACROSS MOUNTAIN. GO ACROSS RIVER. GO ACROSS 
LAKE. GO AMONG TREES. SEE FIVE DEER. SEE FOUR ELK. SEE THREE 
BEAR. SEE TWO BEAVER. SEE ONE WOLF. SEE FIVE BIRDS. SHOOT 
ONE DEER. SHOOT ONE ELK. SHOOT ONE BEAR. SHOOT ONE BEAVER. 
SHOOT ONE WOLF. SHOOT FIVE BIRDS. COME HOME, EAT DRINK, 
SLEEP. 

TODAY NOW I TRADE HORSE WITH INDIAN CHIEF. INDIAN CHIEF 
TRADE HORSE WITH ME. 

TODAY NOW MANY PEOPLE COME HERE HAVE GOOD TIME. SEE 
BOY SCOUT TALK INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE. BOY SCOUT WANT ALL 
PEOPLE UNDERSTAND INDIAN SIGN LANGUAGE. WANT ALL PEOPLE 
TALK SIGN LANGUAGE GOOD. 

LONG TIME AGO INDIAN BAD. LONG TIME AGO WHITE MAN BAD. 
MAKE BIG FIGHT LONG TIME. NOW INDIAN GOOD. NOW WHITE MAN 
GOOD. MAYBE SO. MAKE PEACE. FIGHT NOT. 

I SEE ALL YOU GOOD PEOPLE. GOOD FATHER. GOOD MOTHER. 
GOOD FRIEND. ALL COME HERE SEE SCOUTS. MAKE MEDICINE. SEE 
ALL SCOUTS WORK GOOD. MAKE FIRE. MAKE FOOD. TALK INDIAN 
SIGN LANGUAGE. HAVE SUNRISE IN HEART. 

THREE CHEYENNE INDIAN BOY GO HUNT. COME SIOUX COUNTRY. 
SIOUX MAKE WAR. THREE BOY SCOUT WALK QUIET. TALK SIGN LAN- 
GUAGE. SIOUX SCOUT SEE BOY. GO TELL SIOUX CHIEF. CHIEF TELL 
MEN GO TAKE THREE BOY. BOY SEE MEN COME. RUN FAST ABOARD 
HILL. THREE BOY MAKE MANY BIG ROCK ROLL DOWN HILL. KILL 
FIVE SIOUX. THREE BOY GO CHEYENNE COUNTRY FAST. SLEEP TWO 
NIGHT. SEE MOUNTAIN GOAT. KILL ONE GOAT. EAT. GO HOME. MANY 
CHEYENNE HEART SUNRISE. 

GREAT SCOUT MASTER, ALL GOOD SCOUTS BE WITH YOU ALL 
NOW, FOREVER. 

(To sing Taps.) DAY DONE, GONE SUN. GO LAKE. GO HILL. GO TREE. 
ALL GOOD. PEACE SLEEP. GREAT MYSTERY HERE. 



IMMORTALITY 

By WILLIAM TOMKINS 

[So many Scout Executives, Service Club Members and others have asked for a 
copy of the following poem that the author gives it herewith.] 

Some think this world a vale of tears, or worry and of sighs; 
That Life's a great big lottery, in which few win a prize. 

I read some hopeless verses once that don't deserve to last- 
They told how the mill can never grind with water that is past. 

I'd like to change that fallacy which has caused so many a tear, 
And by transposing make it bear a message of good cheer 

And point the way of winds of hope, like pennant on a mast, 

For I know that the mill can grind again with water that is past. 

A mountain stream comes trickling in the sunlight down the hill, 
And gathers volume until it has strength to run the mill; 

It happily continues then, upon its useful way, 

Turns other mills still further down, until it joins the bay. 

Its temporary mission o'er, it sweeps out to the sea 

With other useful waters bearing it company; 
And there all peacefully they rest, beneath the shining sun. 

Who seems to think their mission is scarcely yet begun. 

With gentle force He lifts them up in vapors to the sky, 

And gathers them in fleecy clouds in His domain so high, 

Where kindly winds then waft them back to that mountain home, 
From which a few short hours before we saw them start to roam. 

The cooling night then causes them to fall in gentle showers, 

A blessing to that mountainside, to grass and trees and flowers; 

And in the dawn of early morn we find them back once more 
In that same little mountainside, but stronger than before. 

They gather volume as they come a-tumbling down the hill, 

And then with added vigor again they turn the mill; 
And then in play they rush away, through meadowland and town, 

And every mill again is turned as they go dancing down. 

The brightest day is no more useful than the darkest night, 
Our troubles soon would disappear if we'd view them aright. 

Good fortune may be holding back her best things to the last, 

For I know that the mill can grind again with water that is past. 

And that same little mountain stream 

Has always been to me 
But one of Nature's many proofs 

Of Immortality. 




OLD FRIENDS 




The author and "BLAZE" m 1890. 



OLD FRIENDS 




The author and some of his friends. 



HOW TO MAKE AN INDIAN HEADDRESS 
OR WAR BONNET 



i he artist in costume 
e and his tuife mode-. 
,,i& streamers oF 
ujhite Fur uuere pre 
Sdn+ed +0 hfrn b 
UJambal 




HOW TO MAKE AN INDIAN HEADDRESS OR WAR 'BONNET 



The new Merit Badge on Indian Lore requires the making of a complete Indian 
Costume, which includes headdress. While designs, decorations, and types vary, the 
method of preparing feathers is much the same. The average "war-bonnet" requires 31 
feathers, 15 each of right and left wing feathers, and one straight or tail feather. These 
may be purchased from a commercial house specializing in Indiancraft supplies, or may 
be secured locally. White goose feathers with tips sprayed a dark brown make excellent 
imitation Eagle plumes. 

In preparing feathers for headdress use, the first step is to soften bottom of quill 
by holding over steam or immersing in hot water until sufficiently softened to permit 
crushing a small section, (Fig. 1), after which base plumes should be securely attached, 
(Fig. 2). The third step is to take a strip of leather about % inch wide and 5 inches long, 
form a hinge by doubling, and bind on base of quill, leaving small loop at bottom, (Fig. 3). 
Around this hinge sew a strip of red flannel 2/ 2 inches long and 1*4 inches wide, (Fig. 4), 
being careful to have stitches at back of feather. This strip should be bound with yarn, 
twine, or silk, (Fig. 5). A few strands of dyed horsehair or hemp should be cemented to 
tip of feather, (Fig. 6), before cementing on tip plume (Fig. 7), as the finishing touch. 

When feathers are completely prepared, encircle an old felt hat-crown with slots be- 
ginning P/2 inches above the front edge of crown, and graduating to # inch above the 
center of back edge, cutting two slots *4 inch apart, and skipping J4 inch between each pair 
of slots (Fig 8). To the front of crown sew a previously prepared beaded band, drops 
and rosette, with snaps or hooks in back, if you intend using a trailer. Drops may be a 
weasel mink, squirrel tails or skins, feathers and ribbons decorated with small bells, 
rattles shells, animal teeth or claws. The rosette may be of beads, shells, metal discs, 
large buttons or mirrors, (Fig. 9). 

When this is completed, sort feathers into right and left curves. If no straight feather 
is available, a curved wing feather may be straightened by steaming and bending, which 
is used as a center. The feathers are laced on with a leather thong or ordinary shoe lace 
threaded through slots in crown hinges, continuing around, lacing all feathers to crown 
(Fig 10) Lay bonnet with inside of crown fiat on table, backs of feathers up. Thread a 
needle with well waxed, strong cord 6 feet long. Draw half of this cord through center 
feather 4 inches above felt wrapping, and one side at a time continue to carefully thread 
each feather, tying or half-hitching quill so that edge just touches the one next to it. 
When both sides are completely strung, (Fig. 11), tie ends together at back, as shown by 
Fig. 12. This "sets" the crown. 

Figure 13 shows detail of preparing and attaching plume to center of hat-crown by 
cutting slice out of quill (A), pushing end of quill through slot in crown of hat, back into 
cut (B), and then binding (C). This plume signifies name of wearer and sometimes is 
known as a "sun-pole," which signifies that wearer has danced the "Sun Dance. X in 
Fig. 14 indicates where the plume is to be attached. The entire crown may be covered 
with split feathers or fluff, adding to its attractive appearance. 

To make the "trailer" (Fig. 14), red dt blue felt is desirable, although canvas or dyed 
flannel are satisfactory substitutes. Use a strip 6 to 10 inches wide, and sufficiently long to 
reach from neck to heel. Cut a row of holes down center, spaced as are those nt crown, 
starting 4 inches from top and reaching to within 6 inches of bottom. The feathers are 
prepared in the same manner as those used in the crown; with the -exception that a base 
and tip plume must be added to the back of each feather. Starting at top with lace knotted 
in back of strip, string feathers as in crown, tying off at bottom of strip. Back trailer with 
lining, binding edges with colored tape. Join feathers with set-string, knotting at first 
and last feather. 

Figure 15 illustrates a double Sioux head gear in which crown is prepared the same 
as in Fig 14, with the exception that 6 sets of holes in back of crown are omitted. Two 
strips of material 3 to 4 inches wide, from neck to heel in length are sewed to back of 
crown, edges of strips touching at top and slightly flaring out at bottom to leave space 
of 6 to 8 inches. Continue slits from hat-crown down center of each trailer and attach 



feathers in same manner to crown, continuing down trailers instead of encircling hat 
crown. 

Figure 16 illustrates a Blackfoot panel trailer, the feathers laying flat, 3 or 4 to a 
row, attached by the method shown in -Fig. 13 rather than by using leather hinges. Panel 
should be deep blue, edged with red, and fastened to hat by hooks or snaps. 

Figure 17 illustrates a Nez Perce Medicine hat, on which is mounted a pair of cow 
horns. The crown is covered with fur. A small mirror is mounted in the center of front of 
crown by inserting in a pocket cut into a piece of leather as illustrated. The pocket is then 
sewn down around mirror, after cutting an opening in the front slightly smaller than size 
of mirror. Small holes are bored in tips of horns through which a well-waxed cord is 
drawn and to the ends of which are attached tin rattles. Ori the cord is fastened a bunch 
of colored fluff, while over the ears are secured bunches of medicine feathers, bell, shells, 
claws, or other "totems" which the wearer may consider tokens of good luck, or "med- 
icine." 

[Headdress article by permission of Marshall G. Fowler of Stamford, Conn., an expert in this line.] 



OLD FRIENDS 




Sons of Dakotah.